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Disfigurement and workers' compensation

An injury on the job can sometimes come with a permanent reminder of the event -- like a scar or other disfigurement. In some cases, those disfigurements are eligible for payment through workers' compensation, even if there are no other lasting effects from the injury.

There are some important things to keep in mind regarding disfigurement claims and workers' comp:

Scars from medical treatments can be included

If the injury itself didn't cause a scar -- but the treatment for that injury did -- that's still something you can likely claim under workers' compensation. Surgical scars, for example, could fall into this category when the surgery is necessary to repair damage from the actual accident.

Scars below the neck aren't included

Your disfigurement has to essentially be visible to qualify for compensation. The more visible the disfigurement, the greater your right to a payment.

Only permanent scars are considered disfiguring

You generally can't collect compensation for a scar until enough time has passed to determine that the wound isn't going to heal cleanly. Similarly, you could elect to get plastic surgery to repair the scar -- in which case, the surgery will likely be covered but you won't be due additional money for the scar itself. Expect to wait at least six months before a scar is deemed "permanent."

The extent of the scarring is important

The bigger the scar, the more compensation you'll likely receive. In other words, a small, thin scar that doesn't really affect your looks might receive only a small payment. A large, jagged scar that's very noticeable, however, would be due far more compensation.

Pictures can be worth a thousand words -- and thousands of dollars

It's often smart to take pictures of your scar as it progresses to its final stages. A photo of yourself before the scar can also be very convincing evidence if you have to take the case to a judge to get compensation.

Your appearance is important to your general well-being. Don't let an employer persuade you that a scar is no big deal when you're entitled to payment through workers' compensation.

Source: cutcompcosts.com, "Disfigurement Benefits – How Are They Calculated?," accessed April 26, 2018

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