Term of the Day – Disfigurement Benefits
Most disfigurement benefits are for those who have suffered a work-related injury to the head or neck, resulting in a permanent loss of specific bodily functions, scarring and/or disfigurement. The scars must be located on the face or neck. This can result from either a cut or burn, or be from a surgical scar from a work-related injury.
The benefits for disfigurement can only be claimed for the neck or head. A person may have significant scarring to other parts of their body, but it is not compensable under Workers Comp. Even if a worker is not disabled from the injury, they may still be able to collect benefits.
Benefits are given in a one-time payment and in addition to other payments, like medical bills and lost wages. The payment will depend on the severity and location of the disfigurement, and the state the injury took place in.
For example, this is North Carolina’s benefit outline: Disfigurement and Damage to Other Organs: If the injury leaves facial or head scars that seriously disfigure the person, or causes the loss or permanent injury to an important organ of the body, the employee may be awarded additional compensation not to exceed $20,000.00. The maximum payable for serious bodily disfigurement is $10,000.00. No compensation is allowed for scars where the employee is paid for loss or partial loss of use of the same member. The employee is also entitled to payment for disfigurement due to the loss or crowning of permanent teeth.
To claim disfigurement benefits, the injured person must be able to prove that the injury causing the scar was work-related. They must also give proper notice of the injury within the requirement of the Workers Compensation Act. It must also be proven that the scarring or disfigurement is permanent; usually someone with scarring or disfigurement after six months is eligible.
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