A serious and permanent work injury can change an individual’s life forever. Fortunately, most employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt at work. If you suffered a significant injury on the job and now have a permanent impairment, you could be entitled to a settlement for permanent partial disability (PPD). While there is no average settlement for a permanent partial disability claim, you could receive a lump-sum settlement or ongoing payments to cover income loss, medical bills, and other expenses.
The process of recovering a PPD settlement can be complex. If you struggle to recover what you deserve or have your claim denied, not all is lost. You could still recover what you need and deserve to go on with your life. The dedicated workers’ comp attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can be here for you and fight for a fair PPD settlement on your behalf. Get started now and contact us for a free case review.
Common Injuries That Could Qualify for Permanent Partial Disability
Permanent partial disability can occur with many types of injuries and medical conditions. Injuries that could qualify for PPD benefits can include but are not limited to:
- Back injuries
- Hearing loss
- Partial loss of vision
- Nerve damage
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (in some states)
However, before you can recover any types of workers’ compensation payments for your injuries, including PPD benefits, you must meet the following basic criteria:
- Your employer has workers’ compensation insurance cover
- You are classified as an employee
- Your injury or condition happened at work and is eligible for workers’ comp benefits
- You have filed a workers’ comp claim according to your state’s requirements
It is critical to report your work injury immediately and file a claim as soon as possible.
Permanent Partial Disability Impairment Ratings
A common way to calculate PPD benefits is with an impairment rating designed to establish the extent of an individual’s disability. Doctors typically use “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment,” published by the American Medical Association (AMA), to assess the degree of a patient’s impairment.
However, evaluating impairment can be somewhat subjective and depends on a doctor’s opinion. Potentially, two doctors could determine two different disability ratings. It is important to note that workers can only recover PPD benefits once a doctor has assigned them with a PPD rating.
Whole-body injuries tend to be more severe and can involve the back, head, spinal cord, organs, and other conditions. Mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder are, in some states, also classified as whole-body injury.
A person who receives a whole-body impairment rating can typically recover benefits based on their age and previous income. PPD benefits for a whole-body injury will depend on the actual impairment rating and other facts of a claim.
Extremity injuries can describe the loss of an extremity or, for example, neurological injuries, burns, injuries to hands and feet, and others. Victims of extremity injuries can generally recover workers’ comp benefits based on the severity of their injury rather than their age or income prior to the injury.
You Can Get a Second Opinion
The assessed degree of your disability will be vital for calculating benefit payments. If you feel that the impairment rating you received is unfair, consider getting a second opinion from a doctor of your choosing. While doctors should be impartial, there can be conflicts of interest when they are working for an insurance company or your employer.
Do not let the workers’ comp insurer get away with paying you less than what you deserve or with denying your claim. Our workers’ comp attorneys are committed to protecting workers’ legal rights and can leave no stone unturned in fighting for what you deserve.
Compensation Available for Permanent Partial Disability
Every PPD settlement is unique. The amount of compensation recoverable can depend on your state’s workers’ comp administration and other considerations. While it can be challenging to put a number on an average settlement for a permanent partial disability claim, factors that will determine the value of your claim can include:
- The extent and permanence of your injuries
- The degree of disability or impairment
- The amount of your medical expenses and expected future medical costs
- Whether you can work again
A settlement offer can include amounts for estimated future medical bills related to your disability, or terms could spell out that you are expected to pay medical bills in the future.
It can be vital to talk any PPD settlement offers through with a workers’ comp attorney before making a decision. Your attorney can negotiate a fair and comprehensive settlement with the insurance company and ensure that you are not getting short-changed.
Crucially, once you accepted a settlement and signed the release form, you generally waive rights to any further PPD benefits or payments. Therefore, if your condition worsens or turns out to be more serious later on, you may not be able to recover additional payments. An attorney can liaise with medical professionals to estimate your future medical expenses and protect your rights.