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Courts Find Ruptured Implant to be Covered by Workers Comp

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If you are injured on the job, workers compensation should cover you medical expenses. But what if your plastic surgery is ruined as a result of a work-related injury? One North Carolina woman was able to have a ruptured implant replaced following a work-related car accident.

In 2001, Penny Richardson suffered a ruptured right implant and rippling in her left implant following an automobile accident. She was originally awarded compensation to replace both implants, however, her employer and insurance company appealed the decision.

Richardson’s case was the first of it’s kind in North Carolina’s state Court of Appeals. The court had to decide whether or not the implant should be covered by workers compensation. All three judges agreed that the implants should be covered by workers compensation, however, their decision partially reversed the original ruling by only allowing compensation for the replacement of the burst implant. Richardson’s plastic surgeon replaced both the implants in the end for the sake of symmetry.

Workers compensation laws vary by jurisdiction, and the outcome could have been different based on the location of the court case. If a similar case arises somewhere else in the country, compensation may be granted for either the pair of implants or none at all.

While Richardson was still awarded partial compensation for the ruptured implant, the final verdict was handed down in 2008—seven years following the initial injury.  Richardson fronted the money for the replacement implants while undergoing an extensive legal battle.  Whether or not the patient had the implants removed or replaced, she still would have had extensive medical bills from the correction of her injuries.