The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act specifically addresses disfigurements of the head, face or neck. Some injured workers find themselves with permanent scarring or disfigurement after a work related injury and they don’t realize that they could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as a result in addition to the wage loss benefits. Benefits for a scar or disfigurement are called specific loss benefits. They include scars caused by surgery.
In order for a disfigurement to qualify for PA Workers’ Compensation Benefits, it needs to be serious, permanent, unsightly and caused by something “not usually incident to the employment.” In addition, it must be above the clavicle area of the lower neck, so if the disfigurement or scar below the neck line it doesn’t qualify for benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. If the disfigurement or scar is still present after 6 months, it would be reasonable to expect that it is going to be permanent. The unsightliness of a disfigurement is at the sole discretion of a Workers’ Compensation Judge to make that determine at a hearing. For an example of a case we handled in which the Judge awarded the maximum amount of workers’ compensation specific loss benefits allowed click here.
The period of the time that an injured worker will be compensated for the disfigurement is either by the Workers’ Compensation Judge after a hearing or by a settlement agreement of the parties. Determination of the proper amount of weeks for the disfigurement requires experience as there are no established guidelines. Trying to negotiate with the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies on your own is not recommended as the interplay between wage loss and specific loss benefits even confuses most experienced attorneys.
If you have suffered a scar or have been disfigured as a result of a work injury, call the Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., at 1-877-291-9675. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will guide you and explain your rights at no cost.