Permanent Total Disability (PTD) is when because of an occupational injury or disease, a person is unable to work in any occupation for which they are suited by education, training, or experience. The worker must prove that he/she is unable to return to work in any capacity and that their injury is a permanent condition. Typically to qualify for a permanent total disability award, the worker has to receive a disability rating of 100% for their injury. A disability rating between 1 and 99% is classified as permanent partial disability.
Definitions of permanent total disability differ from state to state. However, typical definitions of permanent total disability would include loss of two eyes, arms or legs, or absence from work for six months due to an injury or illness sustained on the job without expectation of returning to the prior occupation.
Once a permanent total rating is established, the claimant is entitled to receive PTD compensation benefits. The employer's insurer may seek a settlement of the injured worker's claim through a lump sum payment, which would cover the PTD damages. While the lump sum payment may be considerable depending on the rating and occupation involved, it also closes the claim.
When a settlement is reached, the workers compensation 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 permanent total disability.
Individuals or groups of individual can also purchase their own private long–term disability insurance. However, if their disabling injury occurred on the job, the amount the claimant is eligible to receive is offset by the workers compensation benefits. However, if you are self–employed or not covered by employer disability insurance, it makes sense to consider purchasing private long–term disability insurance.