Many Pennsylvanians work in occupations where an accident or equipment malfunction can lead to permanent disfigurement. If that happened to you, you would expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits, right?
The way the Workers’ Compensation Act is currently written, however, these injuries aren’t covered unless they occur to the face, head or neck. Some lawmakers are intent on fixing that oversight in the law. The legislation was recently passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is now being considered in the Senate.
“Something closer to justice”
One of the bill’s sponsors, Philadelphia Rep. Jason Dawkins, says this legislation would affect a number of his constituents. He said, “I’ve worked with boilermakers, pipefitters, firefighters, nurses, and people from so many more professions who were permanently disfigured in accidents at work.” He noted that restaurant employees can suffer disfiguring burns from hot grease.
Rep. Dawkins added, “These working people have to go through their entire lives with those scars and injuries. This legislation would allow us to give them something closer to justice.”
In a memo to their fellow House members, the bill’s two co-sponsors noted that it would also extend workers’ comp eligibility from 275 to 400 weeks for permanent disfigurement and “clarify that claimants are not precluded from collecting both total or partial disability benefits and disfigurement benefits simultaneously.”
While there seems to be bipartisan support for the legislation, it still has a ways to go before becoming law. This is just one example of how workers’ comp laws can sometimes be flawed. At the very least, they can be complex and confusing. That’s why it’s wise to seek legal guidance if your claim is denied or you experience other issues in getting the compensation you need.