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High-risk occupations can put employees in danger by exposing themselves to conditions that cause different types of workplace accidents. Injuries can range from modest ones, like a bruise, to death. One of the most serious kinds of work-related accidents are those that lead to permanent disfigurement; these are responsible for high occurrences of illness and death. Workers may also experience substantial emotional scarring in addition to permanent physical limitations.
Degloving injuries are particularly horrific disfigurements, and can be unbearable to live with. These occur when the victim’s skin is totally pulled off from their hand and arm during an accident, and can also happen to other parts of the body. This traumatic removal of the skin and subcutaneous tissue can lead to a host of subsequent complications, such as nerve damage, an inability for the body to regulate blood pressure, and cosmetic concerns. The degloving can also occur at the same time as other injuries, such as fractures and head trauma.
Disfigurement injuries can also lead to long-term complications. The individual may require physical therapy to regain use of the limb. Infections may spread, which can lead to tissue death or worse. In some cases, amputation is the only option.
Degloving is most frequently caused by motor vehicle accidents, when pedestrians are hit by a moving vehicle and then dragged. It also happens in bicycling and motorcycling accidents. The other main causes are workplace related, more commonly in the construction and manufacturing industries. Individuals working on or alongside conveyor belts, drill presses, forklifts or tractors need to be safety-conscious at all times. A limb can get stuck and then pulled into the equipment, causing degloving and crushed bones.
These accidents may not be the employee’s fault. Oftentimes the negligence of others is the root of the cause. If a company is not following Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, a defective piece of machinery can cost an employee a limb. Other unsafe work practices, broken or defective machinery, irresponsible drivers, and careless co-workers can also contribute to these devastating injuries. Work-related injuries will generally fall under Workers’ Compensation law.
Medical care for these types of disfigurements and scars is not always successful, and can come at a high cost. Multiple surgeries and skin grafts may be needed and are usually performed by plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. Extended hospital stays may also be necessary.
The state of Delaware allows disfigured employees to file for benefits for up to a year after the accident or surgery has occurred. Workers can get disfigurement benefits that will cover their lost wages and medical costs if the scars and disfigurement are permanent. These may be paid for up to 250 weeks, depending on the injury. Restitution is set at between 22 and 66 percent of the pre-injury wage.
If you or someone you care for experienced a disfiguring disability from a car accident or construction accident, we can help. Wilmington work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are a highly-knowledgeable team of work injury lawyers that are experienced with handling disfiguring workplace accidents and Workers’ Compensation claims. Call us today at 302-427-9500, or fill out an online form for a free consultation.