Q Can I get New Jersey workers’ comp for a disfiguring facial scar?
Workers who have suffered permanent loss of income because of a work injury are entitled to payment from their employers. This includes workers who have endured personal and professional losses due to a scar and other disfiguring effects of an injury.
While facial scars make workers eligible for permanent partial disability benefits, the scar must significantly impact the victim’s daily life. Generally speaking, a scar will not be eligible for payments unless it is:
- Permanent: The amount of money awarded in scar disability cases depends on the extent of the injury. If the scar extends across a large portion of your face and neck and is not expected to fade, cannot be made to look more natural, or will not change aesthetically with further treatment, you may be entitled to benefits.
- Unsightly: If the scar is raised, bumpy, discolored, or extends across a significant portion of the face, neck, or head, the worker may be considered disfigured by the scar.
- Limiting: Scars are more likely to be compensable if the victim can demonstrate that the scars has severely limited his abilities. For instance, if the scar has caused a lack of symmetry (caused the loss of one eyebrow or affected the size of one nostril), caused an inability to smile or show emotion, or resulted in a distressing resting facial expression (exposed teeth or misshapen eyes), the victim will typically qualify for payment.
Even if your scar does not qualify you for permanent disfigurement benefits, you can still get workers’ compensation benefits for your medical costs and lost wages. If your injury at work was caused by negligence (either on behalf of a coworker or your employer), you may be able to file an additional claim to offset the costs of your treatment. To find out how to protect your rights to compensation, click the contact link at the top of this page or download our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.