The assessment of general damages for facial injuries is an extremely difficult task. Two elements complicate the award.
First, while in most of the cases dealt with below the injuries described are skeletal, many of them will involve an element of disfigurement or at least cosmetic disability.
Secondly, in cases where there is a cosmetic element the courts have invariably drawn a distinction between the awards of damages to males and females, the latter attracting the higher awards.
The subject of burns is not dealt with separately because burns of any degree of severity tend to be so devastating as to be invariably at the upper ends of the brackets.
In the guidance which follows some effort has been made to distinguish these cases but the above considerations must always be borne in mind. Where there is a cosmetic element care must be taken to remain broadly within the guidelines which are extracted from reported decisions always remembering the existence of a subjective element therein.
Le Fort Fractures of frontal facial bones.
£28,500 – £50,000
Multiple fractures of facial bones involving some facial deformity of a permanent nature.
£23,500 – £40,000
Fracture of Nose
Serious fractures requiring a number of operations and resulting in permanent damage to airways and / or facial deformity.
Serious fracture with permanent consequences such as difficulty in opening the mouth or with eating or where there is paraesthesia in the area of the jaw.
£20,000 – £35,000
Simple fracture requiring immobilisation but from which recovery is complete.
Damage to Teeth
In these cases there will generally have been a course of dental treatment. The amounts awarded will vary as to the extent and discomfort of such treatment. Costs incurred to the date of trial will, of course, be special damage but it will often be necessary to award a capital sum in respect of the cost of future dental treatment.
This is an extremely difficult area for generalisation.
In this class of case the distinction between male and female and the subjective approach are of particular significance:
Very severe facial scarring. Factors to be taken into account: - age, cosmetic deficit and psychological reaction.
£75,000 – £225,000
Less severe scarring where the disfigurement is still substantial and where there is a significant psychological reaction.
£30,000 – £75,000
Significant scarring where the worst effects have been or will be reduced by plastic surgery leaving some cosmetic disability and where the psychological reaction is not great or having been considerable at the outset has diminished to relatively minor proportions.
£28,000 – £75,000
Some scarring but not of great significance, either because there is but one scar which can be camouflaged or because although there are a large number of very small scars the overall effect is to mar but not markedly affect the appearance and where the reaction is no more than that of an ordinary sensitive young woman.
In these cases the effect is minor only.
£1,000 – £6,000
Particularly severe facial scars especially in males under 30, where there is permanent disfigurement even after plastic surgery and a considerable element of psychological reaction.
£60,000 – £180,000
Severe facial scarring leaving moderate to severe permanent disfigurement.
£30,000 – £75,000
Significant but not severe scars which will remain visible at conversational distances.
Relatively minor scarring which is not particularly prominent except on close inspection.
This is an area in which it is not possible to offer much useful guidance. The principles are the same as those applied to cases of facial disfigurement and the brackets are broadly the same. It should be remembered that many of the physical injuries already described involve some element of disfigurement and that element is taken into account in suggesting the appropriate bracket. There remain some cases where the element of disfigurement is predominant in the assessment of damages. Where the scarring is not to the face or is not usually visible then the awards will tend to be lower than those for facial or readily visible disfigurement.
The effects of burns will normally be regarded as more serious since they tend to cause a greater degree of pain and lead to greater disfigurement.
DAMAGE TO HAIR
Damage to hair in consequence of permanent waving, tinting or the like, where the effects are tingling or “burning” of the scalp causing dry, brittle hair, which breaks off and / or falls out leading to distress, depression, embarrassment and loss of confidence, as well as inhibiting social life. In the more serious cases thinning continues and the prospects of regrowth are poor or there has been total loss of areas of hair and regrowth is slow.
Where damage to the scalp and hair is severe and unsightly damages may be up to £75,000.
Less serious versions of the above where symptoms are fewer or of a minor character; also, cases where the hair has been pulled out leaving bald patches. The level of the award will depend on the length of time taken before regrowth occurs.
Rash which covers other parts of body and lasts more than 3 years and may continue.
£22,000 – £42,000
Primary Irritant rash on hands which clears up or is likely to clear up in 2 / 3 years.
£10,000 – £20,000
Allergic rash as above.
£14,000 – £28,500
A rash which clears up in a matter of months. (Only those whose regular employment is affected by the condition will achieve awards at the higher end of the scale. A minor non-recurrent, non-itchy rash with no employment issues up to a maximum of £2,500).