Common law damages awarded for scarring

It is possible to sue and recover common law damages for scarring in both work injury and transport accident cases if the scarring is a serious injury, caused by the negligence of another. The definition of 'serious injury' under both workplace compensation and transport accident legislation includes 'a permanent serious disfigurement'. 

The Victorian Court of Appeal recently considered whether a thick, red, 15 cm scar on the front of an injured person's left upper arm was a serious injury under the Transport Accident Act 1986. The evidence given by the injured person was that the scar was very sensitive to touch, sometimes itchy and aggravated by heat. Further, the injured person gave evidence that they were self conscious and embarrassed  about the appearance of the scar and attempted to hide the scar from the public gaze.

The court said that in deciding whether the scar was a serious injury it was appropriate to look at the consequences of the scar to the injured person including both the physical and psychological consequences. In this case, considering the scar was large, unsightly and in a prominent position and taking into account the psychological impact of the scar on the injured person, it was open to the judge who first heard the case to find that the scar was a serious injury.

TAC v Emmanuel Garcia [2015] VSCA 225

If you have suffered scarring in a transport accident or a workplace injury and you want to know whether you may have an entitlement to common law damages talk to Penny on 97751371 or by email: Your first consultation is free and without obligation.