Workers Compensation Covers Burst Implant in North Carolina

If someone is injured on the job, workers compensation usually covers his or her medical expenses. What happens if those injuries affect your plastic surgery? For one North Carolina woman, her ruptured breast implant was compensated by workers compensation following an on-the-job injury.

In 2001, Penny Richardson was in an automobile accident that resulted in a ruptured right implant and rippling in her left implant. Richardson was originally awarded compensation for the replacement of both implants by workers compensation; however, her employer and insurance company appealed the decision.

For the North Carolina state Court of Appeals, Richardson’s case was the first of it’s kind. During the appeal, the court had to decide whether or not the rippled implant should be replaced in conjunction with the ruptured implant. The plastic surgeon who performed Richardson’s second breast augmentation testified that the rippling was most likely contributed to an under-filled implant, however, both implants needed to be replaced to ensure symmetry. All three judges agreed that the ruptured implant should be compensated, however, their decision partially reversed the original ruling by not compensating for the rippled implant.

Workers compensation laws vary by jurisdiction, and the court ruling could have been quite different depending on the court. If a similar case were to arise elsewhere in the country, compensation may be granted for either the pair of implants or none at all.

While Richardson may have been granted compensation for her ruptured implant, she still had to undergo a lengthy court process that lasted seven years following her initial injury. Richardson was forced to either front the cost of the reconstructive augmentation or walk around with a deflated implant and risk possible complications.  Whether or not Richardson had the implants replaced or removed, she still would have been faced with extensive medical bills.

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