Understanding the Disfigurement Benefit

Mar 20, 2019 | Benefits

One of the most overlooked benefits in worker’s compensation to injured workers is a disfigurement benefit.

We chatted with Ronda Cordova, a very experienced workman’s compensation attorney. She told us Colorado law provides disfigurement benefits if a worker has a scar or disfigurement due to an industrial injury or occupational disease.

Disfigurement benefit covers what?

Permanent Disfigurement

“Permanent” usually means that the scar or disfigurement exists at least six months after the date of the injury or last surgery or that a physician has determined that the claimant has reached maximum medical improvement. For example, scarring from having had surgery, burns, discoloration, braces, hearing aids, and amputations are covered. It can also cover a permanent limp from having had a back or knee injury. Another example may be a shoulder injury that leaves one shoulder higher than the other.

Visible Disfigurement

According to Colorado law, the disfigurement has to be in a part of the body that is exposed to the public. The unspoken rule is the swimming suit rule. That means the scar or disfigurement is visible when the claimant is wearing a swimsuit.

What are the benefits?

It used to be that a disfigurement benefit was only worth $2,000. About ten years ago, it was changed to $2,000 – $4,000 with a higher level for your face. The benefits started to inch up every year, and now if you’ve been injured after July of 2018, awards are close to almost 6,000 on the low end and $11,000 on the upper end.

The important thing to understand is that very few insurance companies will voluntarily admit disfigurement. In other words, even though they know you’ve had surgery, they don’t admit to it. It’s actually rare that insurance companies cover this.

If you’re an injured worker and you have some visible manifestation, even if it’s a limp, even if it’s slight, even if it’s temporary, you only start limping towards the end of the day; you’re entitled to some sort of disfigurement benefit. All too often, insurance companies don’t admit it. If they admit to it, you don’t have to accept what they admitted to. You can always challenge it. It may not be enough. You could have been undersold, and you can challenge that.  How Much is an individual entitled to is a frequent question asked of our Kaplan Morrell workers’ compensation attorneys.

Disfigurement is one of the things Kaplan Morrell, Attorneys at Law, takes very seriously.

We almost always set them for hearing. A worker could submit photos, but we prefer to have our clients come with us to a hearing room to be able to show the judge, to be able to explain to the judge why and how it’s disfiguring, etc. It is a lost opportunity for most injured workers and they’re not getting the benefits they’re entitled to.

Additional Resource: Disability and Disfigurement Benefits in Colorado

Injured, or know someone who is?

We’re here to help.

Have you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury in Colorado? At Kaplan Morrell, we’re here to support you. Our expert team is just a call or text away at 970-356-9898. You can also easily reach out to a member of our Workers’ Compensation Claim team through our chat feature right here.

Rest assured, every consultation with us is not only free but also held in the strictest confidence. Let Kaplan Morrell guide you toward the peace of mind and benefits you deserve.

 Connect with Kaplan Morrell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/workcompcolorado

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kaplan_morrell

En Kaplan Morrell ofrecemos consultas gratuitas y hablamos español. https://kaplanmorrell.com/es/