Scars are often the result of serious injuries or burns. When they happen at work or because of work-related activities, the scarring may be covered by workers’ compensation. Generally speaking, if the initial injury was covered by workers’ comp, then, unless certain limitations apply, the resulting scarring will also be covered. However, some employers may not inform you that you can receive benefits because of your scarring. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine your options if your injury has left permanent scarring.
Scars and Workers’ Compensation
Some scars do have residual pain at the site, but many scars are simply a reminder of the pain and suffering that you went through after a workplace injury. Scars can also be a cause of embarrassment or can make you self-conscious as well. Even though they may not cause physical pain, scars can still have a negative effect on a workers’ well-being long after the accident occurs.
Scarring is often considered as a factor in your workers’ compensation award. It becomes a part of your permanent disability rating and the benefits that you receive for that reason. However, there are limitations in some states.
In Massachusetts, for example, workers’ compensation will only cover scarring if it occurs on the neck, hands, or face. You receive a one-time payment as a disfigurement benefit. The amount of this payment will vary depending on the location of the scarring and the severity. Generally, the maximum lump sum that you can receive for scarring is $15,000.
On the other hand, Rhode Island does not have similar limitations regarding the location of the scar or other disfigurements.
Workplace Injuries That May Result in Scarring
Burns and lacerations are by far the most common reason that scarring occurs in the workplace. Some falls can also result in scarring as well. The following accidents are likely to result in scarring that may be compensable under workers’ compensation laws.
- Explosions (oil and gas in particular)
- Power tool or machinery accidents
- Chemical or electrical burns
- Falls from a height
- Equipment or supplies falling on a worker
- Packinghouse or slaughterhouse injuries (generally cuts or lacerations)
- Engine-related injuries (mechanics or factory workers)
Non-Scarring Injuries That Are Covered in Massachusetts
Even though Massachusetts has limited scarring awards to the face, neck, and hands, they have not limited other types of non-scarring disfigurements. For example, if you get run over at work with a forklift and that severely injures your leg, you can still get benefits if you end up with a limp for the rest of your life. You may also receive benefits if your leg is visibly mangled, even if you are wearing long pants.
A workers’ comp lawyer can help you work through the various benefits and limitations for scarring in workers’ compensation benefits. The rules in each state vary slightly, and it will depend on how serious your scarring or disfigurement may be. You may also need a medical professional to indicate how long he or she thinks the scar will be visible on your body. Contact Jim Glaser Law for more information.