A DISFIGURING SCAR IN A PENNSYLVANIA WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM

construction workers comp lawyer
Date: September 12, 2023

Question: I have been working in construction for more than 25 years and until a few weeks ago, I never had any injuries or accidents at work. Earlier this month, a scaffolding plank flipped and struck me in the face. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt too bad but I did lose four front teeth and I have a nasty cut on my lip that required 10 stitches. I’m back to work now on light duty and I’m being paid the same amount as I was before the injury. The workers comp carrier is paying the medical and dental bills. I spoke to our Human Resources guy at my job and he tells me that I will also be paid comp benefits for the time that I missed from work. I had the stitches removed and I have to see a plastic surgeon. If this leaves a scar, am I entitled to any payment for that? Anonymous, Clarks Summit, Pa.

Answer: Yes. The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act provides for benefits for scarring or disfigurement of the head, face, or neck if that scarring is permanent, unsightly, and not usually incident to the employment. In addition, you must also show that the scarring is the result of a work injury or work-related event. Also, depending on what dental repairs are performed, the loss of your teeth may also factor into the level of your disfigurement. You may file a claim for disfigurement benefits. The claim will be assigned to a workers compensation judge who will view your appearance, describe it on the record, and then place a value of the claim based on your weekly earnings at the time of your injury. The “value” of a disfiguring scar can range from zero weeks up to a maximum of 275 weeks of benefits.

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If you’ve suffered a work injury and have questions about your claim, contact me at tcummings@dlplaw.com or call (570) 347-1011 for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.