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What happens when a work injury leads to disfiguring scars?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2022 | Workplace Injuries |

Most injuries at work results in internal injuries, like a sprained ankle or a broken bone. However, incidents at work can also lead to physical wounds and disfiguring injuries. Chemical spills, fires and numerous other job hazards could lead to painful wounds and disfiguring scars.

The good news for someone recently hurt on the job is that they know workers’ compensation will cover their medical care costs and provide short-term disability benefits until they get back to work. They won’t have to absorb all of the immediate costs their injury creates.

It is only during recovery that workers may start to question how much support they will actually receive. Can you count on workers’ compensation to help you when your injuries heal but leave you with scars that forever alter your appearance?

Scars on their own often don’t qualify for benefits

When looking at permanent disability benefits schedules in Minnesota, you may realize that there are benefits available for those who have lost a body part or have lost function in a body part. Anyone who can no longer do the same job because of an injury or illness could receive permanent benefits.

Unfortunately, wounds that alter your physical appearance are not included on that list. For workers to qualify for benefits after their wounds heal into permanent scars, they will typically first show that their injuries continue to limit their functionality. For example, a worker could potentially get benefits for burn scars because they affect functionality, flexibility and strength. They can also cause chronic pain.

Focusing on the functional limitations created by scars and the secondary symptoms they create is often the better strategy for those seeking long-term or permanent benefits than a focus on physical appearance.

Will workers’ compensation help remove your scars?

In some scenarios, a doctor may recommend special treatments, like the use of silicone patches, to reduce the sense of scarring or an injuring job. When such treatment may have a medical impact on your range of motion, workers’ compensation may cover such care. However, the scar removal could easily seem cosmetic, which may mean the worker will have to pay for such care of themselves.

Understanding how workers’ compensation makes choices about certain benefits will help professionals struggling to adjust to a recent, physically disfiguring workplace injury.