Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement can result from catastrophic injuries at work. Often, these visible markers lead to embarrassment and suffering for workers; they may find their quality of life and ability to work permanently affected. At Therman Law Offices, our Wheaton and Schaumburg workers’ compensation attorneys help people facing the devastating reality of disfigurement and scarring endured in the course and scope of employment. Our lawyers are dedicated to providing legal representation that assists workers in securing the benefits and compensation they deserve. In some situations, injured workers may be entitled to compensation from third parties as well as from an employer or their insurance company.Scarring and Disfigurement Covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act
If you have suffered scarring or disfigurement due to a workplace injury or accident, you have the right to file a claim for benefits and compensation under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA). Scarring and disfigurement injuries are detailed under Section 8(c) of the IWCA. According to the Act, serious and permanent disfigurement that occurs on the hands, head, face, neck, legs below the knee, or chest above the axillary line, renders the employee eligible for compensation. This section also makes clear that scars above the knee or below the breast line may not qualify for compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of benefits. Because Illinois law provides compensation to eligible employees regardless of fault, a worker may be entitled to benefits even if they partly caused an accident. The limitation for the worker is that they lose the right to pursue their claim in civil court, where they would prove fault but also potentially recover pain and suffering compensatory damages.
In some situations, a third party responsible for creating the situation that gave rise to the accident that led to injuries may be held legally responsible for damages. Intentional injuries by an employer or a third party may also give rise to a legal claim for relief, outside of workers’ compensation. An accident on a construction site caused by an entity not your employer, for example, from a toxic substance or defective product may lead to a third party claim.Recovering Benefits for Scarring and Disfigurement at Work
Most workers who secure compensation benefits for disfigurement and scarring receive lump sum settlements. Following six months after an accidental injury, the IWCA indicates that the injured worker and the employer’s insurer will negotiate an amount. This period of time ensures that the worker meets the requirement of suffering a “permanent” scar, and it also assists in determining the impact of the scar or disfigurement.
Specific factors may be considered when determining an amount of a workers’ compensation permanent total disability award for scarring or disfigurement. These include the location and severity of the scar. A scar on the face is typically the most serious type of disfigurement, leading to higher compensation than a scar on the arm or lower leg. Other factors include whether the scarring or disfigurement impacts the ability of the worker to complete daily tasks or activities. Certain types of scars may be compensated more than others, for example, keloid or raised scars are usually worth more than scars that are not raised. Documenting a scar or disfigurement is critical to securing workers’ compensation benefits. Your doctor will note the scarring or disfigurement that resulted from the workplace accident, as well as the effect of the scar upon physical capabilities, such as mobility.
The IWCA limits recovery of disability payments to compensation for disfigurement or loss of use of a body part. For example, if an individual suffers from disfigurement of their arm due to a workplace burn, they cannot also collect disability for the loss of use of their arm.Discuss Your Case with An Attorney in Wheaton and Schaumburg
The physical and emotional distress caused by disfigurement and scarring should not be understated. We represent injured workers throughout the Chicago area. Our lawyers in Wheaton and Schaumburg have helped countless individuals and families following the trauma and devastation caused by a workplace accident. Our office assists people throughout Bensenville, Arlington Heights, Wood Dale, as well as Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Hanover Park, Rosemont, Bartlett, Streamwood and Hoffman Estates, as well as Elgin, Roselle, and Bloomingdale. Schedule a complimentary consultation by contacting us online or by calling our office at 773-545-8849.