Awards for permanent disfigurement are limited to areas of the body which are visible in the normal course of your work. Therefore, a scar on your back will not result in an award for disfigurement unless your back is exposed in the ordinary course of your employment. (For example, roofers and construction workers may have claims for disfigurement depending on the other circumstances of their cases.) Permanent disfigurements traditionally have included scars, burns, and amputations.
You may now receive a disfigurement award for a limp, if it is severe enough. Limps are now included as compensable permanent disfigurements as the result of a case we took to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Graham v. County of Dane. Also see Wisconsin Law Journal article: Statutory History Part of Statute’s Plain Meaning.
A judge determines the amount of a disfigurement award, taking into account not only the appearance of the disfigurement, but also your age, education, training, previous experience and earnings, present occupation, and likelihood of future occupational change. Generally, you must show a potential loss of wages as a result of the disfigurement. Disfigurement awards are capped at one year’s earnings.
Note: If the employer for which you were working at the time of your injury retains you as an employee after your injury, then it is much harder to make a claim for disfigurement. (Then you must show that you probably have lost or probably will lose wages because of the disfigurement.)
If you believe you may have a claim for disfigurement, please contact us to discuss your case.