Disfigurement in Workers’ Compensation
One of the areas in which the insurance company saves a tremendous amount of money is disfigurement. If a person has what the div of workers compensation would be considered disfigurement (scars or other disfigurement normally exposed to public view) then in Colorado there is an award for that. The catch is that you have to actively do something to get it. They will sometimes tell the injured party about disfigurement, they will sometimes give the injured party an amount chosen by the adjuster, and occasionally they will explain what the injured party needs to do. Unfortunately most of the time they just put $0 on the Final Admission and hope that you don’t object within the time frames. I recently read a case involving a firefighter who found out too late that he should have received a disfigurement award. The court found that his failure to act within the time limits prevented him from being able to raise the issue when he did.
Generally the judges are very fair when it comes to this issue. If someone has a significant impairment that is exposed to public view the judge also has the option of going above the normal award for what would be considered “extensive facial scars”. There is no published guide as to what any particular disfigurement is worth, it is up to the judge, so no adjuster can tell you that what they are offering for this is what it will be from the judge. In my experience the amounts offered by the adjuster are usually less than what the judge awards though not in every case.
If you are getting close to maximum medical improvement (MMI) it is helpful to know your rights because this is the time that the attorney can provide the most assistance.