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Workers' comp benefits for disfiguring injuries, part 2: how much?

In the first part of this post, we noted that additional workers’ compensation is available for a disfiguring injury under Colorado law.

To be sure, as we discussed last time, you have to meet the criteria in Section 8-42-108 of the Colorado Statutes.

But let’s presume that you do meet those criteria. How much additional money would you get, beyond the other workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to? In this part of the post, we will discuss that question.

The answer depends in part on when you were injured.

In 2007, the Colorado Legislature amended the law on additional compensation for disfigurement. The Legislature prefaced the amendment with a statement about the importance of putting in place an annual increase for disfigurement benefits.

This is especially important, the Legislature said, because workers’ compensation is generally the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries.

Prior to the law change, there was a limit of $2,000 on additional compensation for disfigurement. The amendment to the law in 2007 increased that amount to $4,000.

The 2007 legislation also did two other things. It provided for up to $8,000 in additional compensation when an employee suffers certain specific disfigurements.

It also directed the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Division to adjust the limits each year. These adjustments are to be done with reference to the average weekly wage in Colorado, as stated elsewhere in the workers’ compensation law.

In short, Colorado now has a very detailed process in place to allow for additional compensation for disfiguring injuries.

To be sure, many people would say that true beauty lies beyond appearances. But the law does make some accommodation for damages to external appearance.

Source: WestLaw, 2007 Colo. Legis. Serv. Ch. 174 (H.B. 07-1297)

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