Spinal cord injuries, brain injuries and even broken bones top the list of crash consequences that people hope to avoid. Most people immediately imagine catastrophic injuries and worst-case scenarios. However, you can suffer injuries that completely change your life without being life-threatening.
Some people experience primarily superficial injuries in a car accident that can impact their happiness, self-esteem and career success. Especially if you have substantial scarring due to cuts or burns on your face, neck, hands and forearms, your injuries could affect your social life, finances and quality of life.
Who covers the cost of reconstructive cosmetic surgery when a car crash leaves you with disfiguring wounds?
Fault will play a big role in who pays
When the police respond to the scene of a crash, they do their best to analyze the visible evidence at the scene and the statements made by involved parties and witnesses to determine who caused the crash. North Carolina uses a liability-based automotive insurance system, which means that the fault for the crash determines whose insurance pays.
If the other driver caused the crash, their insurance should cover the necessary costs related to your medical care. You can typically also request compensation for lost wages and property damage when you file an insurance claim against someone else’s policy. However, the payments you receive are subject to the limitations of the other driver’s coverage.
If you were at fault, you may have to rely on health insurance or personal resources to cover the cost of any surgery that you need. Health insurance may cover a portion of the costs of medically necessary reconstructive surgery but not purely cosmetic surgery.
What if the insurance isn’t enough?
Reconstructive surgery can take multiple operations to complete and often requires significant financial investment. It’s possible that the driver who caused the crash doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your medical treatment.
If that is the case, you may be able to ask your own insurance to help if you have underinsured and uninsured driver coverage. Otherwise, you may have to consider filing a civil lawsuit against the other driver in order to get compensation for the cost of expensive cosmetic surgery.