Scarring and Disfigurement
Workplace accidents, unfortunately, occur frequently in New York, and in many cases, they cause innocent employees to suffer painful injuries. While some wounds heal over time, others lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement. Although money alone cannot make up for the physical and mental harm caused by avoidable workplace harm, many employees, injured at work, can recover workers’ compensation benefits for their losses, and often money damages from third-party lawsuits as well. If you sustained scars or were disfigured because of an incident that occurred at work, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your rights. Valerie Crown of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is a dedicated Rockland County workers’ compensation lawyer who can inform you of your rights, and if you engage her services, she will help you seek any benefits recoverable under the law. Ms. Crown often represents people in workers’ compensation claims in Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties and in the greater metropolitan area.Scarring and Disfigurement Caused by Workplace Accidents
A number of workplace accidents can lead to scarring and disfigurement. For example, thermal and chemical burn injuries often cause scars and disfigurement. Crush injuries, motor vehicle collisions, amputations, and compound fractures can lead to scars and disfigurement as well. In some instances, scarring will arise due to surgery an employee needs to treat a workplace injury. If the accident was the fault of a third-party (not the employee, his/her employer, or a co-worker), then the injured worker has a right to sue the third-party for pain and suffering in addition to filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Scars often impact a person’s appearance and can cause mobility issues as well. For example, contractures are a type of scar that cause tightening of the skin, making it difficult to move. Hypertrophic scars and keloids are thick and raised and typically occur in the areas where a person has suffered a laceration or undergone surgery. While hypertrophic scars and keloids typically do not limit a person’s range of motion, they can cause psychological trauma.Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available for Scarring and Disfigurement
People, who sustain scarring or disfigurement while working, can often recover workers’ compensation benefits. They must prove that their harm is work-related, which means that it occurred during the course and scope of their performance of job duties.
Generally, employees hurt in the workplace can recover medical and disability benefits. Medical benefits provide treatment that is reasonable and necessary because of the injury, which may include surgery. Disability benefits compensate employees for a portion of the loss of income they suffered due to their harm and will continue to suffer in the future.
In addition to any medical and disability benefits, that may be available for an injured employee, the Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) specifically states that the Workers’ Compensation Board can award benefits to employees who sustain permanent scarring or disfigurement of the head, face, or neck. Specifically, the Act provides that the Board can award compensation to an employee who suffers serious disfigurement of the face or head as well as if the scar is partially on the face and extends into the neck if the Board finds the scar will impair the employee’s earning capacity. Under the Act the total amount available for such scarring and disfigurement is $20,000. The discretion of whether to grant benefits for scarring and disfigurement lies entirely with the Workers’ Compensation Board. Typically, they will evaluate such scars one year after the harmful incident.
However, future lost earnings may also be paid to the injured worker if there is a permanent disability due to contractures with loss of range of motion and/or consequential psychological injuries as well as pain and suffering compensation if there is a third-party lawsuit.Talk to a Seasoned Rockland County Attorney
In many cases scarring and disfigurement not only causes emotional and mental trauma but also pain and mobility issues. If you were hurt while working, you could be owed workers’ compensation benefits as well as money damages from a third-party lawsuit, and it is smart to talk to an attorney. Valerie Crown of The Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, Attorney at Law, P.C., is a seasoned attorney with ample experience helping injured workers protect their interests, and if she represents you, she will set forth compelling arguments on your behalf. Ms. Crown has an office in New York, and she frequently represents employees in workers’ compensation claims in Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Ulster Counties and in the greater metropolitan area. You can contact Ms. Crown through the online form or by calling 845.708.5900 (office number) or 845.598.8253 (Valerie’s direct cellphone 24/7).