Some work-related injuries are truly terrible, and leave physical scars that will never heal. New Jersey workers compensation law recognizes this fact.
Disfiguring scars can play into a determination of whether a worker has become permanently disabled as a result of their accident. This is true in cases where the scars are permanent, unsightly, or limiting.
The location of the scars can also matter a great deal: scars on the hands, neck, face, or head are treated with more severity than a scar on the shoulder or abdominal area.
No provisions are made for whether the scars cause emotional distress.
What makes scars a special case is that if you can show that your scars meet the “permanent, unsightly, or limiting” criteria then you don’t have to prove any other restriction of bodily function to be awarded permanent disability.
Permanent partial disability benefits are equal to 70% of your average weekly wage, multiplied by the number of weeks correlated to the severity of your injury. Permanent total disability equals 70% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed 75% of the state’s average weekly wage, which means there’s a $921 weekly maximum no matter how severe your scarring or injury.
None of this means that any case involving a scar is going to be straightforward, or that you will be awarded a quick payout. Employers can look right at a scar that is obviously disfiguring and disabling and still try to pull all sorts of tricks to avoid paying your claim. In addition, a great deal of your scarring case will hinge on “how scarred up to you look,” which is a bit subjective and in the eye of the beholder.
In some cases workers compensation may also pay for plastic surgery to help you correct the scarring or disfigurement. Receiving cosmetic surgery to correct the scar does not necessarily preclude you from receiving disability payments. In addition, workers compensation should cover these payments as they are legitimate medical expenses caused by your work-related injury.
If you have a workers compensation case that has resulted in scarring and disfigurement, don’t wait for your employers to do the right thing. Put an experienced workers compensation attorney on your team so that you can get the benefits you’re entitled to. Everything from your eligibility for certain benefits to the quality of the medical care you receive could depend on you having competent representation.
Contact us today to get started.