Last week we posted on some of the myths and truths around scarring and your workers’ compensation claim. Today we have a few more things that you should know about this important topic.
MYTH: “I have to wait several years before I can collect payment for a scar.”
TRUTH: The law requires you to wait only six (6) months before you can collect payment for a scar. This is considered ample time for the scarring to be considered at maximum medical improvement. Never, ever wait to report a cut or burn to your employer. Even if you are able to continue working, you should tell your boss immediately about the injury. You should seek representation as soon as possible as well.
MYTH: “It’s just a cut. It’s not that bad. I don’t need professional medical treatment.”
TRUTH: Cuts and burns, if left unattended, can lead to serious medical conditions. We recently had a client who worked in the food service industry. He waited several weeks after he cut his hand with a knife to seek professional medical attention at a local hospital. Initially he thought that the cut would heal on its own if he treated it with antibiotic ointment and bandages. After several weeks of the cut not healing, he finally sought medical attention at his local emergency room. The hospital immediately referred him out for an evaluation with a hand surgeon as an infection had spread in the cut and the wound became gangrenous. The reality is that if the injured worker had sought medical attention immediately, his situation would likely not have turned as grave.
Scarring and disfigurement is a very important part of the Worker’s Compensation Statute. A scar is almost always a permanent reminder of an injury sustained at work. Your boss won’t have to live the rest of his or her walking around showing others a constant reminder of what happened; you will. You have an absolute right to be compensated for the physical damage it caused. It’s hardly a souvenir.