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February 6th, 2014

Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law – Benefits for Disfigurement

Every day, Pennsylvania workers are injured in accidents while on the job. While most injured workers recover fully, many do not. Serious, permanent injuries can and do result from on the job accidents.

Fortunately, Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act provides a way for seriously injured workers to recover for medical bills, lost wages and in cases of certain types of major injuries, lump sum payments. This applies to injured workers in the following types of situations:

  • amputation injuries, or complete loss of the use of a body part,
  • loss of hearing,
  • loss of eyesight, and
  • permanent disfigurement.

Related: Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law – The Basics (Part A)

Section 306(c)(22) of the PA Workers’ Compensation Act provides as follows:

For serious and permanent disfigurement of the head, neck or face, of such a character as to produce an unsightly appearance, and such as is not usually incident to the employment, sixty-six and two-thirds per cent of wages not to exceed two hundred seventy-five weeks.

What is a Serious, Permanent Disfigurement of the Head, Neck or Face?

In general, a worker who has become disfigured as a result of a work accident must prove that the disfigurement meets each of the following:

  1. is serious,
  2. is permanent,
  3. is unsightly, and
  4. is not incident to the employment.

Not every change to an injured worker’s face, head or neck will be compensable as a disfiguring injury. A scar, blemish or physical change to these areas must be significant. Some injured workers will suffer some physical changes to the face, head or neck, but not be entitled to specific loss benefits under the PA Workers’ Compensation Act.

Most disfiguring injuries boil down to the issues of whether they are serious and whether they are unsightly. In disputed cases, i.e., where the employer disputes that an injury is disfiguring, the only way to determine whether an injury is unsightly is for the workers’ compensation judge to actually examine the injury. Slight changes in appearance will not qualify. For instance, a slightly crooked nose will not qualify as a disfigurement. On the other hand, the following injuries will usually qualify:

  • loss of all or part of an ear,
  • scarring of the eye, and
  • loss of teeth.

Related: Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law – Serious, Permanent Injuries (Specific Loss Benefits)

Philadelphia PA Workers’ Compensation & Accident Law Firm

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan represents workers who are injured on the job. Our work accident lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases against third parties and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a given work accident case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.