The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act permits an injured worker to collect additional benefits for permanent scars and disfigurement and specific loss. A specific loss award also applies to workers who have permanent loss of their eyesight or hearing, or the use of a thumb, hand, finger, leg, toe, or foot. Disfigurement claims are only allowed for scarring/disfigurement to the neck, face, or head. Although you may have other scarring to other parts of your body, those are not compensable under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.
Specific loss and disfigurement benefits are available even if a worker is continuing to work and did not have to take time off for the disfigurement. Benefits are available even if the worker does not suffer a disability and is receiving other workers’ compensation benefits for other injuries. Disfigurement benefits may be received by a worker for up to 275 weeks of benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Act sets forth the amount of weeks benefits depending on the body part that has sustained specific loss.
Importantly, the employer is not obligated to inform a worker that he or she is entitled to the additional benefits for specific loss or disfigurement. Thus, it is important that workers consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney regarding claims for specific loss and/or disfigurement. If you have suffered any type of scarring or disfigurement to your head, face, or neck, or have sustained a specific loss or any type of work injury, it is in your best interest to contact Cynthia O’Donnell, Esquire at Patberg Law Firm (codonnell@patberglawfirm or 412-232-3500) to discuss your entitlement to any such benefits.