Much like benefits paid to workers who injure arms, legs or fingers, Colorado law provides benefits for those who suffer scarring or disfigurement due to on-the-job injuries or occupational diseases. Injured workers may be compensated for serious scars and permanent disfigurement to the head, face and other parts of the body normally exposed to public view. Such benefits are determined by the severity and visibility of the injury.
Under Colorado law, a scar or other deformity is permanent if it exists for at least six months after the injury or a physician determines that worker's condition has reached maximum improvement. Colorado law also defines the term "public view" as being visible on the worker's body when he or she wears a swimsuit.
An injured worker may request a disfigurement award from his or her employer or the insurer. If there is no agreement on a payment, the worker may submit a request to the Office of Administrative Courts to have an administrative law judge to review the case and issue an award. By statute, injured workers can claim the following benefits for injuries occurring during the following dates:
Injuries occurring before July 1, 2007: $2000
Injuries occurring after July 1, 2007: $4000
Injured workers may now claim up to $8000 in disfigurement benefits for extensive facial scars or facial burns, extensive body scars or burns, as well as for amputated limbs. Disfigurement awards may increase each year to adjust for inflation. If you have questions about disfigurement benefits, contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney.