Claimant's facial scar warrants substantial disfigurement award
Liberty Home Improvement and Tower Insurance Co. of NY, 110 NYWCLR 190 (N.Y. W.C.B., Panel 2010).
Ruling: A New York Workers' Compensation Board panel affirmed the workers' compensation law judge's finding that the claimant sustained a permanent facial disfigurement due to a laceration to his right cheek, thus warranting an award of $14,000.
What it means: Under New York law, whether a claimant has suffered a serious facial or head disfigurement is a question of fact for the board to resolve. Where the scar proceeds across the claimant's face, and the claimant's occupation involves soliciting bids and work cost estimates for projects, the claimant's scar would plainly affect his ability to solicit work and therefore would impact his future earnings.
Summary: The claimant, a 22-year-old canvasser for a home improvement company, was assaulted in a work-related incident and required 60 stitches from the top of his ear to his mouth. The panel affirmed the WCLJ's finding that the claimant suffered a permanent disfigurement due to the laceration, warranting an award of $14,000. The panel rejected the carrier's argument that the WCLJ did not take the claimant's testimony on whether he actually suffered a loss of income as a result of his facial scar. The claimant testified that his current occupation was to solicit bids and do cost estimates for residential home improvement projects. The panel found that the scar would plainly affect his ability to solicit work because the scar proceeded across the right side of his face. As a result, the scar would have an impact on the claimant's future earnings.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
December 20, 2010
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