Some injuries are so severe that they permanently change a person’s appearance. For example, a burn injury could leave permanent and noticeable scars on a person’s body. Disfigurement can severely impact a person’s life and can often limit the victim’s ability to work. Even if the disfigurement is not disabling, it can still affect the victim’s self-esteem and lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
For these reasons, many workers who have suffered disfiguring injuries wonder whether or not they are entitled workers’ compensation benefits. Here’s what you should know:
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Awarded to Disfigured Employees
According to OK Stat § 85A-45, workers who suffered disfiguring injuries are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, disfigurement is considered a “separate and independent element of compensation.” This means someone who has been disfigured as a result of a work-related injury could receive workers’ compensation benefits for the injury in addition to workers’ compensation benefits for the disfigurement.
The law states that workers with disfiguring injuries are entitled to up to $50,000 in compensation. However, this compensation will not be paid to the employee immediately after the injury is reported. Unfortunately, the law states that compensation cannot be awarded for disfiguring injuries until at least 12 months has passed since the injury was sustained.
For example, let’s say you suffer a serious burn injury while at work. You may receive workers’ compensation benefits for the burn injury shortly after the accident, however you will have to wait at least one year before receiving compensation for the disfigurement caused by the burn.
When Workers Cannot Be Compensated For Disfiguring Injuries
Workers with disfiguring injuries are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but there is one exception to this rule. Let’s say you sustain a disfiguring leg injury at work that leaves you permanently disabled. If you are awarded permanent partial disability benefits because of this leg injury, you cannot be compensated for the disfigurement of your leg as well. However, if you are only awarded temporary disability benefits for the leg injury, you can be compensated for the disfigurement of your leg.
If you were disfigured as a result of a work-related injury, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. today. Our compassionate attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure you are compensated fairly for your injuries. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.