When an employee is an injured on the job to the severity of having a permanent injury but is still able to work, the employee may be entitled to receive compensation for their permanent partial disability (“PPD”). The employer insurer’s or state PPD payment is for the injured worker’s diminished earning capacity over the course of their lifetime.
While the employee can still work, they can no longer work in their previous capacity and have to engage in an occupation that does not pay as well as their occupation at the time of the accident.
Typically an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) is used to rate the injured worker’s disability. The examining doctor uses a percentage estimating how much the injury affects the claimant’s ability to work.
A worker may be eligible for PPD for a disability rating between one and ninety-nine percent. However, most PPD ratings are between five and thirty percent. The worker’s occupation type is a factor in the disability rating.
If an employee receives a 100% disability rating for their injury, this is classified as permanent total disability.
Claimants may be entitled to an additional disability rating if they do not agree with the initial disability rating. Once a disability rating has been established, the claimant is entitled to receive PPD benefit payments on a regular basis.
The employer’s insurer or state’s department of labor may seek a settlement of the injured worker’s claim through a lump sum payment, which would cover the PPD damages.
While the lump sum payment may be considerable depending on the rating and occupation involved, it also closes the claim. The insurance company issues a check in exchange for a signed release of claim document.
Thus if the claimant’s injury worsened or was re-aggravated, the employer and their insurer would not be responsible for payment of future medical treatment. Claimants should seek counsel with a workers’ compensation attorney regarding their PPD claim.
Individuals or groups of individual can also purchase their own private short-term or long-term disability insurance. Workers may also be covered by employer disability plans. However, if their disabling injury occurred on the job, the amount the claimant is eligible to receive through disability plans is offset by the workers compensation benefits.
Nonetheless, if you are self-employed or not covered by employer disability insurance, it makes sense to consider purchasing private short-term and long-term disability insurance.