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Everyone gets cuts and scrapes throughout their lives, but lacerations are much more serious, and they, unfortunately, are a very common injury for car accident victims. Lacerations can be severe, with complications that require prolonged medical treatment, or can result in permanent injury. People who get lacerations from a personal injury may have to miss work and can incur sizeable medical bills.
A laceration is the tearing of skin and underlying tissues caused by a blunt force injury. When the object or surface impacts the body, the skin and possibly the underlying tissues are torn. Lacerations come in various shapes and sizes, and the wound will cause pain, bleeding, bruising, or swelling. You may also experience numbness or decreased mobility in the area surrounding the wound.
If you suffered lacerations from a negligent action caused by another, the team at Caffee Law can review your case and inform you of your legal rights. You deserve compensation for your injuries and your losses, and we’ll fight to ensure you receive the maximum financial reward. Contact us today for a free consultation at (206) 312-0954.
Characteristics of Lacerations
The following are the most common characteristics of a laceration:
- Edges of the wound are irregular or jagged
- Likely to occur on parts of the body where the bone is immediately below the skin surface, such as elbow or shin
- Often contaminated by foreign material coming from the object that caused the wound
- Residual tissue strands may be seen crossing over the wound
A laceration is painful, serious, and requires immediate medical attention. If you or someone else in an accident has suffered a laceration, it’s important to call 911 to summon emergency medical services.
What are Common Causes of Laceration
Following are some of the more common situations that can cause a laceration in an accident:
- Sharp metal edges of a vehicle slash the body
- Shattered glass from the automobile penetrates the skin
- High impact of the crash causes a severe jolt to the body
- Loose objects being flung inside the car
The faster a laceration is treated, the faster medical services can work to prevent secondary issues, such as blood loss.
Treatment for Lacerations
Even a mild laceration needs to be treated, and, as we’ve stated, it is important to seek medical attention immediately to prevent blood loss and infection, and to reduce the potential of extensive scarring. These methods are typical in the treatment of lacerations:
Bleeding control: Blood loss is the prominent concern with lacerations, so bleeding needs to be stopped as soon as possible with direct pressure on the wound.
Cleaning the wound: The laceration and surrounding area must be cleaned to wash away dirt, debris, and excessive discharge and to remove germs that can cause infection.
Closing the wound: Lacerations often need to be closed using staples, stitches, tissue glue, or tape. Even though a large laceration may eventually heal on its own, it is optimal to have it sealed. A closed wound will heal quicker and prevent bacteria from getting in to help prevent infection. The laceration will also heal more evenly to prevent scarring.
The more severe the laceration, the more intensive the treatment needs to be, and you may even need to see a surgeon. The following situations require repair of the laceration:
- Bleeding continues even after direct pressure is applied for 10-15 minutes
- Depth of laceration is more than 1/8-1/4 inch
- There is exposed muscle, fat, tendon, or bone
- Dirt and debris remain in the wound after cleaning
- Location of laceration is on an area of the body with high stress or use
- Possibility of intense scarring
Pain and infection control: Lacerations are often very painful for the victim, and doctors will prescribe medication that can provide relief from the discomfort. In addition, an antibiotic may be prescribed to ward off potential infection.
Complications From Lacerations
A laceration tends to heal slower than a regular cut and is more likely to leave a scar because the edges of the skin are torn or jagged. Deep lacerations are a very serious injury, and the following complications can occur:
The loss of too much blood is the most serious and potentially life-threatening complication. Accident victims who get deep, large lacerations can lose blood very rapidly and must be treated at a hospital. Sometimes blood transfusions are even necessary.
Your mobility will be impaired while you recover from a deep laceration. You will have to be careful that movement does not reopen the cut and slow down the healing process. Doctors usually recommend that people who have suffered serious skin lacerations stay home from work, rest, and refrain from activities that require too much use of the affected area of the body.
Pain and Discomfort
A laceration and the surrounding area will be very tender and painful. It can be difficult to sleep when your mobility is limited, and you can’t put pressure on a certain part of your body. If you find that prescription medication is necessary to cope with the pain, sometimes its side effects can be unpleasant. You may also have to undergo plastic surgery to repair the laceration.
There is always the possibility that the wound can get contaminated and become infected. This can happen at the time the personal injury occurs and also throughout the healing process. Infection is the most worrisome complication during the first few weeks of recovery. If a laceration becomes infected, symptoms like fever, pain, and swelling are uncomfortable and require immediate medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the body.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Human skin has a robust ability to repair itself, but most healed lacerations will still leave behind some scar tissue, so permanent scarring or disfigurement is the most common long-term effect. Plastic surgery can help restore imperfections, but it is likely you will still have a visual reminder of the trauma from your accident for the rest of your life.
Getting Compensation for Lacerations
If you have suffered a laceration injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Caffee Law represents Seattle accident victims against the responsible party to recover the compensation they are owed. We stand up to the insurance companies to gain fair settlements for our clients, and we aren’t afraid to take the at-fault party to court, when necessary, to get the settlement you deserve. We may be able to help you recover damages for current and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call (206) 312-0954 today to contact Caffee Law. We’ll fight to get you reimbursement for the suffering you’ve endured.