Facial scarring from work-related injuries can be particularly distressing because of the change to the individual’s facial appearance. Though these injuries can have a psychological effect on anyone, individuals with occupations that require an attractive appearance may experience an increased level of trauma. Besides the effect on one’s superficial appearance, scar tissue is not as flexible as normal tissue; therefore, mobility around the injury might become limited.
The type of scar that develops after a facial injury depends on the severity of the injury, and other external factors like the age and health of the individual. These different types of scars have varying levels of treatability:
A doctor might recommend laser treatment, dermabrasion, surgical procedures, steroid injections, radiotherapy, or topical treatments to reduce the appearance of scarring. The successful outcome of these treatments depends on the type of scar; certain scars are more treatable than others in terms of reducing the scar’s appearance.
When an individual’s facial appearance will be permanently affected due to a burn, scar, or other injury that changes the facial anatomy, this is known as disfigurement. When disfigurement occurs to the face, head, or neck, the injured individual may be entitled to compensation if the injury occurred at work. The injured individual could receive a schedule award, or compensation for the period that the individual will be affected by their injury. Because disfigurement is permanent, the amount of compensation may be calculated in different ways. These decisions are made upon consideration of the amount of wages that will be lost due to the injury or scarring. The maximum award is $20,000.00.
In general, compensation for facial injuries and scarring is evaluated based on the estimated loss of wages over time. There are a number of factors taken into consideration when evaluating how a facial disfigurement will affect the individual’s future wages:
Other evaluations performed on the disfigurement, according to medical guidelines from the State of New York Workers’ Compensation Board:
If an individual receives a facial injury that may lead to scarring while at work, they should seek medical attention and have the medical profession evaluate the severity of the injury. If the injury will be permanent and will affect the worker psychologically and/or physiologically, the worker may be eligible for compensation. The worker could receive compensation for the associated medical costs, and these medical costs may not be only for treatment of physical effects: the individual may seek psychological counseling for the emotional effects of a facial injury. As such, compensation may also be due for the emotional distress and trauma caused by the injury. Additionally, facial injuries and scarring may be eligible for additional compensation because the worker may face future loss of income due to difficulty finding or keeping employment following the disfigurement.
The procedures and guidelines surrounding facial injuries and scarring can be complex and confusing. In order to ensure that you receive the full compensation you are due, it’s important to seek legal assistance when filing a claim for your workers’ compensation injury. O’Connor Law PLLC can help. Our worker injury attorneys will guide you through the legal process and inform you about your rights should you have experienced a facial disfigurement or injury while working. Contact our team today.