David McKinney | Partner

Tale as Old as Time: The Price of Beauty

To many of us, appearance is important.

It would not be unusual for many of us to spend time on our appearance before meeting friends for dinner, appearing in front of a sheriff, or simply going out in public.

The links between the pride of appearance and the price of beauty are not subtle. Considering every submarket (beauty treatments and spas, health products, haircuts and styling, dental procedures, gym memberships, cosmetic surgery, etc.), the UK beauty and cosmetic industry is worth between an estimated £4billion and £15billion.

A person’s appearances can be transformed, in an instance, by the negligence of another party. Scarring and disfigurement to the face or body can be caused by a chemical burn from dangerous or faulty products, a road traffic accident, an impact with an airbag, an accident at work, or by failed medical treatment.

So, what is the price of beauty?

The Judicial College Guidelines (a reference point for solicitors on the level of general damages awarded in personal injury cases) suggests that women with Very Severe Scarring could receive between £36,800-£74,000 worth of compensation, in particular where the cosmetic effect is very disfiguring and the psychological reaction severe. Comparatively, Less Significant Scarring is worth between £3,000 and £10,450.

For men, the Guidelines suggest compensation for Very Severe Scarring to be worth between £22,625 and £50,000, especially in males under 30, where there is a permanent disfigurement. Lower down the scale, Less Significant Scarring, which is not particularly prominent except on close inspection, is worth between £3,000 and £6,925.

These scales are not concrete figures. In assessing claims, a number of factors are considered, including the nature and the extent of the scarring, the claimant’s age and the psychological impact any facial disfigurement has had on them.

There does however appear to be a clear distinction between the suggested awards for men and women. How can the Guidelines put more worth on a woman’s appearance than a man’s?

A quick poll at Jackson Boyd would suggest that our female colleagues spend slightly more time on their morning routine before leaving the house, than their male counterparts. However is that alone indicative of their appearance being more important to them than that of a male colleague?

To look at it another way if a woman suffers from facial scarring she is more likely to feel comfortable using make up to camouflage the effects of the accident. A man, in a similar position, may be reluctant to use cosmetic products and therefore his scarring could remain more noticeable at conversational distance and thus potentially have a greater psychological impact.

The Guidelines are not a tool of a political agenda, but rather a consideration of how much an injury impacts a person’s life. Whilst they prove very useful to the busy personal injury practitioner they are still only “guidelines”. At Jackson Boyd we will consider your injury and how it has impacted on you. We will consider the initial physical pain and discomfort, the level of medical treatment received, the permanency of the scarring, the likelihood of any long term improvement and finally the psychological impact that the injury has had on you. At all times we will seek to maximise the compensation you receive by highlighting the significant impact the accident has had on your life.

If you have experienced such an injury, Jackson Boyd Lawyers has the extensive knowledge and experience to help and support you through the personal injury claims process from beginning to end; helping to ensure that it is as stress-free a process as possible. People’s lives can change after an accident, and while money is only a small part of the healing process, Jackson Boyd can focus on dealing with this legal process, meaning you can focus on your recovery. We aim to deliver more than just compensation.

For a free consultation, please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.

David McKinney

David McKinney

Personal Injury Team

"It is a privilege to act for our clients at a difficult time in their lives. I always aim to provide them with clear, practical advice in an approachable way.”

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