Scars from Work Injuries & Workers' Compensation
If you are injured while working, you cannot rely on your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company to protect your rights. You need an experienced representative who understands Connecticut’s years of legislation, cases, and administrative decisions, and who knows how to make the law work for you. Insurance companies and employers will make sure that they are well-represented and knowledgeable in every workers’ compensation case. At the Kocian Law Group, our Connecticut workers’ comp lawyers believe in leveling the playing field by making sure our clients have equally experienced and focused representation.
Scarring Due to Workplace Injuries
Many work injuries cause disfigurement or scarring, including scars from surgery to repair a workplace injury. Workers’ compensation may include compensation for scarring, but compensation for scarring is by no means automatic. The injured worker must take it upon himself or herself to properly claim an award for scarring. Kocian Law Group attorneys can do this for you.
Scarring Awards for Older Injuries
For many older injuries, awards were more widely available. A Commissioner, if requested by the worker, would evaluate the scar – wherever located on the person. The Commissioner would then assess an award for the scar, based upon location, visibility, size, and other factors. The award would be expressed as payment for a certain number of weeks.
Despite this relative simplicity, insurance companies did not make injured workers aware that such awards were available. Many injured workers did not know they were eligible for a scar award, especially after surgery or when scars were typically covered by clothing. Such awards went unclaimed. For older injuries, there are very few limitations on the availability of scarring awards. If you suffered an injury in the 1970s, the 1980s or the early 1990s, and you have not received a scar award following the injury or surgery, contact the Kocian Law Group to discuss how we may help you to claim the award.
Scarring Law Today
Scarring or disfigurement associated with injuries suffered after 1993 is more complex and less well understood. First, there is a narrow one-year window within which to claim the scar award. Generally, the award cannot be claimed earlier than one (1) year following the injury or later than two (2) years following the injury. Anyone who does not file within this deadline may lose the chance to claim an award. Insurance companies will usually not advise injured workers of these deadlines.
In addition, scarring awards are now limited to scars that are physically located on the head, face, or neck. Neck scarring is also limited to scars that are not caused by spinal surgery. Scars on other areas of the body are compensated only if the scar affects the worker’s ability to continue current employment or find new employment. However, if your treating physician reports that your scar does handicap you in obtaining or continuing to work, you can receive scarring benefits for this type of injury.
In one case, as an example, the Kocian Law Group was obtaining scarring benefits for a correctional officer who, while on the job, was slashed across the abdomen by an inmate. The insurance company attorney objected to payment of the scar benefits, stating that because the injury was after the change in the law in 1993 and was not on the “head, face or neck,” that no benefits were owed. The Kocian Law Group successfully argued benefits were still owed. We established that the scar handicapped the worker in continuing his employment; the officer’s abdominal cavity was weakened by the scar, making it harder for him to perform his duties as a correctional officer.
Despite certain restrictions in the law, Kocian Law Group attorneys can help you obtain very favorable awards for your compensable scar. We aggressively pursue your case for you. Kocian Law Group attorneys will request and attend an evaluation hearing with you and obtain pertinent medical records and photographs.
We will take all necessary measures to emphasize:
- the location of the scar
- the size of the scar
- the visibility of the scar or disfigurement due to lack of pigmentation or hyperpigmentation
- whether the scar is hypertrophic or keloidal
- whether the scar causes tonal or textural skin change;
- whether the scar causes loss of symmetry, bumps and depressions, or other disfigurements
- In appropriate cases where it is supported by the medical record, we will argue that a scar handicaps the injured worker in continuing his or her employment and a scarring award is appropriate.
Using these legal factors, Kocian Law Group attorneys can help to get the highest award possible for your scar or disfigurement. If you have sustained a scar or suffer from disfigurement as the result of a work injury, contact the Kocian Law Group to discuss how we can help you.