Two Reasons. The jury cannot conclude the scar is permanent without a doctor’s opinion. And the jury – or the insurance company – needs to know how much it would cost to try to fix the scar.
You are not exactly the same as you were before the accident. You have a scar that wasn’t there before, because someone else screwed up. The right doctor can tell you – and the insurance company – whether the scar will heal on its own, and how much it will cost to fix the scar.
Let’s say that instead of talking about your body, you are talking about an old car you own. The car is a 2001 Oldsmobile that runs just fine. But the paint is faded, your daughter backed into a wheelbarrow with it and never got that fixed in 2009, it got banged with a golf ball last year, there is another dent from when the kids in the neighborhood threw a boulder on it in the middle of the night, and your teenage son painted a Grateful Dead insignia on the driver’s door in 2011.
Some idiot runs into your Oldsmobile, and bends a fender. It will cost $700 to fix the fender.
If it comes out of your pocket, you probably wouldn’t do it. You’d rather have the $700.00. Should you NOT get the $700 in this case because you are not going to get the car fixed?
Of course you should get the $700.00 – your car is worse than it was before, because of what the other driver did.
Your scar is like the bent bumper. Most doctors I have heard from say scars usually reach their best appearance after about a year. And most scars don’t get fixed – or “remediated”. But if it is there, you don’t look the same as you did before.
If your scar is visible, then you need to see a doctor for two reasons. First, in my opinion, a jury would not be allowed to award damages for the permanency of a scar without the expert testimony of a doctor that the scar is in fact permanent, even if that is something everyone “knows.” And you need to establish what it would cost to try to get the scar fixed – or to improve it as much as possible. Because that is the only way that the insurance company can assign a value to it.
Certain doctors do this a lot. Plastic surgeons, obviously. Ear Nose And Throat surgeons also do it – at least some of them do. And some dermatologists can perform this kind of evaluation.
A lot of people are reluctant to go to a doctor when they don’t intend to get scar revision. All I will say is that every time someone I work for has seen a doctor to have their scar evaluated, it helped settle the lawsuit.
If you think your accident has resulted in a permanent scar, call me, Bill Strubbe, a Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.
Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.