Permanent Impairment Benefits v. Disfigurement Benefits for Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Permanent Impairment Benefits v. Disfigurement Benefits for Workers’ Compensation InjuriesThe workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman know that when you suffer a workplace injury and need treatment you do not have the luxury of waiting to see if your employer will treat you fairly. Call us in Seaford, Newark, or Wilmington, DE to schedule a free consultation about your claim.

The Delaware workers’ compensation program offers a number of different type of benefits. If you get hurt on the job, you can expect a weekly wage benefit (usually 66 2/3 of your salary) to help you protect yourself while you can’t work. If you suffer a catastrophic injury, however, or an injury that takes a very long time to heal, you may be entitled to additional benefits.

How do permanent impairment benefits work?

If you suffer an on-the-job injury or illness that leaves you permanently partially disabled, you may be entitled to permanent impairment benefits. Permanent impairment may not mean you have lost total use of the body part that has become injured. It can be a percentage of loss that you’ll never regain.

An example of this could be a crush injury to your leg that initially left you unable to walk without assistance. After reaching maximum medical improvement, you can now walk on your own but with a limp that will never go away. Should your claim be successful, you would receive payment based on the impairment rating assessed by a qualified medical professional.

The impairment rating translates into a percentage of disability, which is then used to calculate your compensation benefits based on either a scheduled or nonscheduled loss.

Scheduled losses involve:

  • Extremities
  • Digits
  • Eyes
  • Ears

Nonscheduled losses involve:

  • Back
  • Heart
  • Lungs

How do disfigurement benefits work?

Disfigurement benefits can be paid for anything from a scar to a burn injury to an amputation that alters the appearance of the affected body part injured in the work accident. Key criteria for determining disfigurement under Delaware code is that the injury must be “visible and offensive when the body is clothed normally.” This benefit may be paid out for up to 150 weeks, depending on the severity of the disfiguring injury.

Circumstances could arise that turn the harm you’ve suffered into a sort of hybrid claim. This can occur when the injury is both disfiguring and ends in loss of the same body part, or loss of use such as with a permanent impairment. Should this be the case, the maximum compensation you could receive would be the higher of the amount for disfigurement alone, or the loss of the body part or its use, in addition to 20% for disfigurement.

An employee is eligible to file a petition for disfigurement one year after the accident or related surgery.

No matter the direction your benefits claim heads, the uneasiness of not knowing where your future lies can be hard on you and your family. The Delaware workers’ compensation attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman know that the emotional and financial hurdles you face now, and those you will be forced to manage once you can eventually carry on with your life won’t be easy.

Put our legal team to work for you now to help ease your burden. To schedule your free case evaluation in our Wilmington, Seaford, or Newark, DE office, call 302-888-2900, or reach out to us through our contact page.