Consider a situation where you are at work and something happens to cause a severe cut on your forehead. In fact, the cut is so severe that it requires a trip to the emergency room for stitches, antibiotics, etc. Additionally, for the sake of this discussion, let us say that the result is a jagged, ugly scar. Should you receive indemnity benefits for the injury?
The short answer is basically no. O.C.G.A. § 34-9-200(a) requires that an employer “shall furnish the employee…such medical…, which in the judgment of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation shall be reasonably required to appear likely to affect a cure, give relief, or restore the employee to suitable employment.” Arguably, once the bleeding has stopped, such care has been provided. Once the bleeding has been stopped, the employee can probably return to work.
The next question then is if indemnity benefits are not available for such an injury, can I at least get workers’ compensation to pay for plastic surgery to make the scar look better? Again, the answer is probably not. In general, the State of Georgia does not allow workers’ compensation for non-disability producing disfigurement. See Nowell v. Stone Mt., Scenic R.R., 150 Ga. App. 155 (1979). Therefore, unless the employee’s ability to work was somehow hindered by the disfiguring scar, the employer is under no obligation to provide anything further than basic treatment for the cut itself.