One of the core purposes of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is to compensate injured workers for the loss of income caused by a work-related injury or illness. When it comes to settling cases, much of the focus will be on permanent work restrictions, and future loss of income potential. However, what about injuries which do not involve a loss of earning capacity? Can an injured worker be compensated if an injury results in a scar or disfigurement? The answer is YES! Keep reading to learn more about this complicated topic, and what top Chicago injury lawyer, Brent Eames, has to say about your options when a work-related injury leaves you with a permanent scar.
Section 8(c) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to protect workers who suffer disfigurement or serious scaring as a result of a work accident. In particular, under the Act, if the worker suffers a serious and permanent disfigurement to his or her hand, face, neck, arm, leg below the knee, and/or the chest above the axillary line, such worker is entitled to compensation. Although each case is unique, as a general rule, disfigurement to the leg above the knee and/or to the chest below the axillary line is usually not compensable under the Act.
The amount of the compensation is determined based upon the number of weeks of permanent partial disability benefits awarded. Permanent partial disability is equal to 60% of the injured worker’s average weekly wages. For example, if the injured worker’s average weekly wage was $1,000, his permanent partial disability benefits will equate to $600. The weekly permanent partial disability benefits are then multiplied by the number of weeks awarded based on the body part that was disfigured as well as on the nature of the disfigurement itself. A worker who developed a large, prominent scar on his or her face as a result of the work injury will more likely than not receive a larger compensation than a worker who has a small scar on the back of the neck, for example. However, Section 8 (c) of the Act sets the limit on the amount of compensation available for disfigurement and specifies that the award for serious and permanent disfigurement cannot exceed 162 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits, if the injury occurred on or after February 1, 2006.
Medical records demonstrating the treatment received for the disfigurement suffered as a result of the work accident will be helpful in proving the eligibility for compensation under Section 8 (c) of the Act. Nevertheless, the pictures of the disfigured body part will be even more useful for establishing the disfigurement claim under the Act. Oftentimes, the arbitrator assigned to the claim filed for disfigurement will also schedule what is commonly known as “viewing” during which the arbitrator will look at the nature and extent of the disfigurement and recommend to the employer how many weeks of the permanent partial disability benefits shall be paid to the injured worker.
Permanent disfigurement not only can alter a person’s physical appearance, produce physical pain, numbness, itching, and discomfort, but it can also result in significant emotional distress. Thus, if you or someone you know suffered serious permanent disfigurement as a result of the work accident, please contact our experienced attorneys who have been rated as among the best work comp attorneys in Chicago to discuss your rights. If you have been injured, you should immediately contact Brent Eames for a free consultation to discuss your options.
The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd.