Scarring and Disfigurement in the Auto Industry
Workplace accidents that cause scarring and disfigurement may be physically devastating and emotionally harmful as well. If you have suffered scarring and disfigurement in the auto industry, you can consult an experienced Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer to determine your eligibility for benefits. Although the workers’ compensation system was designed to make it easier for workers who suffer injuries on the job to recover benefits, the reality is that valid claims do get denied, and it can be difficult to obtain the benefits to which you’re entitled. Scarring and disfigurement change your personal appearance, sometimes permanently, and in some cases also impair your body’s ability to function.Scarring and Disfigurement in the Auto Industry
Under Section 8(c) of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, workers who experience serious and permanent disfigurement on particular parts of their body are entitled to compensation for the disfigurement. You may qualify for these benefits if you’re injured in visible areas like the head, face, hands, neck, shins, calves, or visible areas of the chest. Scars that are suffered in spots that aren’t visible may not qualify for compensation unless they are disabling injuries. For example, if a chemical spills on you in an auto manufacturing plant and you suffer burns on your stomach, you might not be entitled to benefits for the scars or they might not entitle you to significant benefits. You can consult with an attorney about whether you could qualify for benefits given your particular scars and your situation.
Some common injuries that could result in scarring or disfigurement include lacerations, burns, loss of an eye or ear, nerve damage, scratches to the cornea, traumatic brain injuries that could cause stroke-like symptoms, loss of an extremity, or nerve damage.
Usually, the benefit to which you’re entitled for scarring or disfigurement in the auto industry is a lump sum payment. This is a one-time payment. A workers’ compensation insurer negotiates with an injured worker or attorney after 6 months have passed since the accident. This allows you and the insurer to know if the disfigurement or scarring is permanent. You can’t get compensation for both disfigurement and loss of use for the same part of your body. For example, if you are burned across your hand, you can either obtain a benefit for disfigurement or for the loss of use, but not both.Calculating the Benefit
How much is the lump sum payment? Factors that may be considered include whether the scarring or disfigurement are embarrassing and whether they are raised. When the face is permanently scarred, this is considered a very serious kind of disfigurement that is worth more. Similarly, keloid scars may entail greater benefits than a smooth scar that involves only slight discoloration. You may not be able to get both disability payments and compensation for disfigurement of a single body part.
A disfigurement benefit is determined by multiplying the number of weeks the disfigurement involves by a benefit rate. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act allows for up to 162 weeks of disfigurement benefits. Deciding the number of weeks that should be covered can be challenging; it is wise to be represented by a seasoned attorney who is on your side for this discussion. The benefit rate is equivalent to permanent partial disability benefits or 60% of your average weekly wage, with minimum and maximum caps on the rates. The minimum and maximum rates change periodically.Retain a Skillful Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago
It’s hard to put a monetary value on scars or disfigurement. If you have suffered scarring or disfigurement in the auto industry, you can retain a skillful workers’ compensation attorney in Chicago. The experienced attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertcua handle claims for injured workers in Rockford, Champaign, Aurora and Quincy, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, Adams, and Kane Counties. We look closely at the circumstances of our clients’ injuries to determine whether there are also other avenues for relief. Contact us at 800-444-1525 or at 312-263-6330 or by completing our online form.