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Burns. 2009 Aug;35(5):642-9. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2008.09.003. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

Medicolegal evaluation of aesthetic impairment: particularities of post-burn scars.

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  • 1Department of Legal Medicine, Toulouse University Hospital, France.


Burns are serious injuries with incidence decreasing with the increasing efficacy of prevention campaigns. Their cause may be non-intentional or criminal. Thanks to advances in burn management, mortality has declined; however, the sequelae are more severe. The medical expert must be familiar with this field in order to carry out precise clinical evaluation so that individual compensation may be determined by the judge. Aesthetic damage, which is purely a non-economic loss, is difficult to assess, as it is dependent on the subjective opinion of the medical expert. The principle of financial compensation for aesthetic impairment is an imperfect one, but it gives victims a satisfactory compensation to which they attach importance. Without detailing the various national compensation systems, we review the burn patient's examination by the medical expert with particular attention to the specific characteristics of burn scars, their course and aesthetic impact.

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