• Disfigurement Petition is Premature When Claimant has Yet to Undergo Approved Medical Treatment that is Likely to Improve His Appearance.
  • April 27, 2017 | Author: Paul V. Tatlow
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Wilmington Office
  • Kieran Sniadowski v. Pulte Homes, (IAB No. 1208092 - Decided Nov. 30, 2016)

    One of the complications from the claimant’s compensable work injury included failing dentition due to extensive use of narcotic medications. The Board had held that restorative dental care-dental implants-was necessary, reasonable and related medical treatment. At issue was the claimant’s petition to determine disfigurement for the loss of his teeth. The employer argued that the disfigurement petition was premature since the claimant had yet to receive the dental implants. Claimant’s counsel countered that the Board typically evaluates disfigurements without the use of prosthetics; that the dental implants will not be natural; and that the claimant’s actual teeth will never grow back. The Board addressed this threshold issue and agreed that the petition was premature since the claimant had not yet reached maximum medical improvement. The important distinction made by the Board was between a removable prosthesis and those things that become a permanent part of the body. A removal prosthesis would include such things as a brace or a wheelchair, and the disfigurement claim is to be considered without them. However, the Board agreed with the employer that dental implants become a permanent part of the body and, until the claimant gets them, the condition of his teeth and mouth has not reached maximum medical improvement.