Workers may heal eventually from many work injuries, but when serious scars or disfigurement remains, true healing may never occur. Such marks on the body may leave a permanent scar on the employee. State Workers’ Compensation laws differ on scarring and disfigurement, and Pennsylvania law permits compensation for certain types of scarring.
Scarring and Disfigurement Causes
In the workplace, various accidents can result in scarring and disfigurement. Major causes of scarring and disfigurement are often caused by:
- Power tools
- Electrical burns
- Chemical burns
Pennsylvania recognizes two distinct categories of scarring in relation to Workers’ Compensation. The first is scarring or disfigurement resulting directly from the injury, such as a chemical burn. The second category involves scarring from surgical procedures performed to treat the work injury.
Scar and Disfigurement Location
Much depends on the location of the scar or disfiguring injury. A worker with a scar on the hand or arm does not qualify for compensation in Pennsylvania, but a scar located above the collarbone, on the head, face, or neck, does qualify. In other states, scars or disfigurement on body parts that are exposed during the regular course of work or normal activities, such as scars on the legs, arms, or any areas seen when a person wears a bathing suit, are covered. As noted, this is not the case in Pennsylvania.
Whether a scar is unsightly may prove a subjective opinion, but only scars receiving this designation are eligible for compensation. Age also comes into play, as a judge may decide that scarring on the face of a younger employee affects that individual more than similar scarring on an older worker. Factors considered in determining whether a scar is unsightly include:
- Location on the face, head, or neck
- Size of scar
- Jaggedness versus linearity
If the scar is large and immediately noticeable, the odds of it being deemed unsightly are much greater than if it is small and something the worker must point out to have noticed.
No consideration is given for scarring or disfigurement until at least six months have passed since the accident and little improvement has resulted. To receive compensation, the scarring or disfigurement must be considered permanent.
A severely scarred or disfigured appearance changes your life. Depression and anger may set in. Even if a worker physically heals, they may never emotionally heal from their changed appearance.
It is vital for patients to document the scarring and disfigurement by regularly taking photos of the scarred or disfigured area monthly. Have a pre-accident photo available for comparative purposes. Document the appearance of the injury right after it happened, after any medical treatment, and as healing progresses.
Bucks County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Help Clients Suffering from Scarring and Disfigurement
If an on-the-job injury resulted in scarring and disfigurement, you need the services of the experienced Bucks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. Our dedicated lawyers will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 888-999-1962. Located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania.