Arizona: Scar on Neck Qualifies for Facial/Head Disfigurement Award

An Arizona appellate court recently upheld a workers’ compensation award in the form of facial disfigurement benefits where the injured worker, a truck driver, sustained a five-inch scar on his neck when he was sprayed with sulfuric acid that was being hauled in his truck [Bulk Transp. v. Industrial Comm’n (Freeman), 1 CA-IC 12–0035 (May 7, 2013)].

Construing the Arizona disfigurement statute which, in relevant part, allows awards for “permanent disfigurement about the head or face” [A.R.S. § 23–1044(B)(22)], the appellate court stated that the inclusion of the word “about” was crucial to the decision in the case. The court noted that the dictionary definition of “about” included “on all sides; in every direction; around” and “in the vicinity; near.” Because the neck is “around,” “near,” and "in the vicinity of a person’s head or face, a disfigurement of the neck was compensable under the statute.

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