Scarred For Life

scar on handA recent case out of Delaware has awarded a Sam’s Club employee 427 weeks (a little over eight years) in disfigurement related to an injury she received on the job.

The worker, Heather Stevens, worked for Sam’s Club and was injured in September of 2010 as she was removing pies from an oven. She suffered major burns and originally received workers’ comp benefits for impairment to her skin, upper left arm and spine. She petitioned for disfigurement earlier this year and the case went to the Industrial Accident Board in Delaware.

When Stevens was 26 she was taking pies out of the oven when the rack tilted and fell on her- burning her on her face, neck, chest, left arm and back. She had surgeries but many scars still remain. She cannot be in the sun too long as it irritates her skin and she usually wears shirts that cover her neck because her scars are still so visible and it upsets her when people ask about them. Now 30 years old, her scars are still very noticeable and she had to show the IAB her scars as part of the proceedings. So in court, wearing a bathing suit, she showed them all 20 of her scars so they could each be documented. There are marks on her shoulders, biceps, inner arms, elbows, back, neck, face, chest, stomach and hips. The court noted that her neck, upper chest, shoulders and arms are just about covered in markings.

The court found that her disfigurement was visible and hurtful to her when she was normally clothed, and so was eligible for disfigurement benefits for up to 150 weeks to any certain part of her body. Since so many different parts of her body were disfigured, they were all individually eligible for up to 150 weeks in benefits. The board took her age into consideration as well, since she was only 26 when it happened she will face a lifetime of scrutiny for her disfigurements. She received 25 weeks for a scar on her left shoulder, 25 weeks for a bicep scar, 6 weeks for an inner arm scar, etc. Read the full breakdown here . She received the most for her face (150 weeks) since the board determined that was the most visible and also most traumatizing to receive an injury to.

In all she was awarded 427 weeks of compensation, roughly $124,884 in her wages. Here’s hoping she can try to heal in this time, at least mentally if not a little bit physically as well.

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