Levels of Disability – Claim Types
When you have a Workers Compensation claim, it will end at some point. In other words, at a certain point in time, you won’t receive any more money for your injury. You can accept a settlement, or, if you feel it is low/unfair, you can take your case in front of a judge, with the help of a skilled workers compensation attorney. How disabled you are may factor into the decision (between you and your attorney) to pursue your claim in court.
In an ideal world, you will make a full recovery. But what if you do not, and what if it is apparent that you will have permanent damage of some kind from your injury? For example, blurred vision for the rest of your life from a head injury, or restricted use of one arm after a shoulder injury. This is known as PPD – Permanent Partial Disability.
Permanent Partial Disability or PPD
Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits may be available for a permanent loss of functional use of a body part. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the PPD rating; the percentage of impairment of each body part, as determined by a physician, as well as which body parts are affected by the disability. The loss of earning capacity may also be considered in determining the benefit amount. Ask your attorney what the current maximum amount per week is.
Each state has complex schedules and formulas to determine the benefit amount for a PPD and it is usually a set amount rather than indefinite payments. A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can assist an injured worker in calculating the number of benefits that might be expected.
Permanent Total Disability or PTD
Workers’ Compensation insurance may also pay permanent total disability (PTD) benefits when the injury has:
1. Reached maximum medical improvement
2. Results in a permanent disability and he/she will never be able to return to any type of gainful employment.
Each state has specific laws and guidelines to determine if the worker qualifies for PTD benefits. In some states, after it has been decided that PTD benefits will be paid, will pay individual benefits throughout his/her life. Usually, Insurance Companies resist paying PTD benefits and simply will not concede a worker has a permanent total disability. In those situations, a hearing will be required in order for the injured worker to be declared completely and permanently disabled by a judge or commissioner.