Permanent Disfigurement in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Cases
In North Carolina, employees who suffer an accident (regardless of who was responsible) are entitled to compensation for 66% of their lost wages while disabled due to the accident. There is an exception for serious bodily disfigurement. Disfigurement is not the same as a permanent disability which is handled differently in North Carolina. An example of disfigurement is severe permanent scarring over a large area of the body that is outwardly observable.
If the disfigurement is for serious facial or head disfigurement (again, the disfigurement must be serious, permanent and observable), then the award may be a maximum of $20,000.00 Otherwise, the award for other serious bodily disfigurement not covered anywhere else is a maximum of $10,000.00 There has to be some showing that employee’s ability to earn wages is affected because of the disfigurement. Also, this kind of award is discretionary with the Industrial Commission. It is not an automatic Award.
In some cases, the employee may have both serious facial and bodily disfigurement. There, the employee may be entitled to both the maximum $20,000.00 sum and the maximum $10,000.00 sum for a total of $30,000.00.
In some cases, the disfigurement award may not be available – because it has been factored into the disability award elsewhere – for example, the loss of a leg would qualify the employee for partial disability payments. One could not claim those benefits as well as disfigurement for the leg.
Also, as another example, if one is already totally disabled, one is not entitled to payment of scheduled benefits in addition to the ongoing compensation payments for total disability.
How we can help
If you or a loved one has had the misfortune to suffer a workplace accident, and there is a serious disfigurement as a result, you need good legal help on your side. When you need a great attorney for workplace accidents in Hampton Roads, Virginia or in Northeast North Carolina, make sure you contact us or call Workers Compensation Attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 to find out how he can help.