Workers’ Compensation for Burns, Permanent Scarring, and Disfigurement in Virginia
Workplace accidents and medical treatment for work-related injuries can cause permanent scars and disfigurement. In Virginia you may receive workers’ compensation benefits such as temporary total disability payments and lifetime medical treatment for your injuries, as well as permanent partial disability payments for permanent scarring and disfigurement.
This article explains how to get paid for permanent scars related to your workplace accident and injuries. If you have any questions about the process, or are looking for high-quality legal representation to help you negotiate a workers compensation settlement, contact work injury lawyer Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We help injured workers in Richmond, Norfolk, Fairfax, Roanoke, and surrounding areas get the compensation they deserve for scarring.
Workplace Accidents and Injuries that May Cause Scarring and Disfigurement
The most common workplace causes of scarring are burns, scrapes, cuts, and lacerations. But other types of accidents, as well as the treatment needed to heal those injuries, can result in scarring. For example, we have helped injured employees obtain workers’ compensation benefits for scarring after suffering injuries in these types of accidents:
- Chemical Burns
- Crush Injuries Causing Fractures
- Electrical Burns
- Engine-Related Injuries
- Falls from a Height
- Industrial Accidents Involving Power Tools, Equipment, or Heavy Machinery
- Slip and Falls
We have also helped injured workers obtain disfigurement and scarring benefits based on the effects of surgery they had to treat their injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Permanent Scars and Disfigurement
We recommend filing a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits for scarring and disfigurement when you file your initial claim for benefits. In the “Other” section of Part B of the Claim for Benefits form, you can state that you are reserving your right to payment for scarring and do not want that portion of your claim docketed for a workers’ compensation hearing. This protects you from a potential argument that you did not file your claim for scarring benefits within the applicable statute of limitations.
Before moving forward with your workers’ comp claim for permanent scarring, you must first reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). You have reached MMI for scarring and disfigurement when the only medical treatment recommended to reduce or improve the scarring is cosmetic in nature and not shown to be medically necessary.
Not all scarring is compensable in Virginia. You must have “severely marked disfigurement” due to your injury or medical treatment rendered for your injury.
Whether a scar or a group of scars are a “severely marked disfigurement” is a legal opinion issued by the Commission. It is not a medical opinion to be issued by your approved treating physician or any other health care provider. If the treating medical provider states that scars should not be labeled “severely marked,” the Commission can ignore that opinion since the question of marked disfigurement is reserved for the Commission.
The parties can attempt to negotiate a settlement of the claim for permanent scars and disfigurement before submitting the claim for a hearing. When an employee and the insurance company cannot agree on the severity of the scarring or disfigurement, they can ask the Workers’ Compensation Commission to decide. Usually the Commission will determine your level of disfigurement through direct observation of the scarring at hearing. The deputy commissioner may, however, determine the compensability and extent of a scarring injury by viewing photographs.
Disfigurement is compensable under the section of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act addressing permanent partial disability benefits. Virginia Code Section 65.2-503 states that “Severely marked disfigurement of the body resulting from an injury not otherwise compensated by this section” is worth up to 60 weeks of benefits, which are paid at the same rate as your temporary total disability benefits. This section was added to the Workers’ Compensation Act in 1975. Before then workers’ compensation benefits for disfigurement were availably only if the injured employee had marked disfigurement that impaired his or her future usefulness or occupational opportunities.
You can receive compensation for scars on certain areas of the body and the location of the scar determines how much you may potentially receive in compensation benefits
If you have both permanent scarring and loss of use of the affected body part, then you must decide whether you want to pursue benefits for disfigurement or the loss of use. You cannot combine awards for these two types of benefits. We recommend speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney to determine the best legal option for your scarring claim.
Get Help with Your Workers Compensation Claim for Permanent Scars and Disfigurement in Virginia
Contact Corey Pollard for a free consultation regarding your entitlement to workers’ comp for scarring and disfigurement. We can help you determine the best route to maximize your compensation. And if your scarring has caused pain or psychological problems that prevent you from working full-time, our disability lawyer can help you pursue Social Security Disability benefits as well.