Visitor Question

Workers Comp Insurance Coverage Question…

Submitted By: James (Woonsocket, Rhode Island)

I work for a labor company in Massachusetts that recycles refrigerators. My occupation is to cut out the compressors. One evening I had just finished cutting a compressor out of a refrigerator and was trying to get the copper off the fridge.

When I moved the fridge with my leg a little the compressor’s jagged edge cut a 3 inch gash down my ankle. I required 17 stitches. My question is, am I eligible for workers compensation for the scar on my leg?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear James,

James:

Although the laws and regulations concerning Workmans Compensation may vary from state to state, there remains a denominator common to all. Workmans Compensation does not provide recovery for pain and suffering or mental anguish.

The medical bills related to the treatment of the gash in your arm, including the stitches, are certainly recoverable, but because the scarring itself did not require separate medical treatment which might have incurred separate medical bills, it would not be recoverable.

Rather the scarring would be classified as part of pain and suffering or mental anguish and therefore non-recoverable. On the other hand let’s say your job had been to sell refrigerators instead of tearing them down, and while demonstrating one to a customer a jagged piece of metal seriously cut and scarred your arm.

If the protrusion of that ragged metal was a design flaw in the manufacturing of the refrigerator you could recover compensation for your medical bills through Workmans Compensation and then turn around and sue the manufacturer of the refrigerator separately for the scarring, including the pain and suffering or mental anguish the scar may have caused and may continue to cause.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 21, 2011

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