When workers are injured on the job, their earning capacity significantly drops, and they become eligible for workers' compensation insurance. When it comes to employees still around because of workers' comp, it pays to understand what permanent partial disability (PPD) is and whether it's for life.
What Is Permanent Partial Disability?
Permanent partial disability is a workers' compensation disability level where workers can perform their roles without demonstrating skill and efficiency before the injury. A worker's earning capacity is significantly affected.
An employee injured at work still suffers impairment at the end of their healing period. They qualify to get disability benefits regardless of the effect on their earning capacity. A doctor will assign a disability rating to each affected body part from 0 to 100 percent. Sometimes, employers will fight workers comp claims for differnt reasons.
What Are Permanent Partial Disability Benefits?
If an injured worker is ready to return to work but has a permanent impairment, they qualify to receive permanent partial benefits. Those who can't return to work or are disabled, such as loss of sight, amputation, or paralysis, receive total disability benefits.
A permanent impairment means the worker is not expected to improve in the future. However, it doesn't describe how long the benefits will last. If workers cannot return to duties performed before the injury, making them earn less, their weekly benefits are increased.
Determining Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Injured workers receive permanent partial benefits every other week. The amount can go up to 66% or 2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage. However, the amount may not exceed the national weekly average wage.
All permanent partial benefits depend on the extent of the injury after the injured worker undergoes an Independent Medical Exam (IME) for a doctor to determine the severity of the impairment. An IME is very important; however, you may be interested in whether or not you can refuse an IME.
The injury is rated to determine the amount of compensation. If the worker isn't satisfied with the rating of their injury, they can file an objection within 20 days.
People with severe injuries such as loss of an eye or amputation may become eligible to receive benefits for up to 150 weeks. Workers with disfigurement injuries may receive up to $10,000 in compensation. There's also a likelihood that workers with permanent partial disabilities will receive lump sum payments, not bi-weekly ones.
Maximum Weekly Payment for PPD Benefits
Ohio raises its maximum weekly PPD payments yearly to keep up with living costs, inflation, and the average weekly wage. However, not all injured workers receive the maximum payment. The amount depends on the extent of the injury and how long it's expected to last.
All workers' comp benefits have a cap under the maximum weekly benefit. Only people earning considerably more than the cap 52 weeks before the injury receive the maximum weekly benefits.
Why Get an Attorney for Permanent Partial Disability?
Enlisting the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney in Columbus, Ohio, is a wonderful idea. It avails the necessary assistance to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Work injury lawyers in Columbus OH will come in handy to file an objection, obtain supporting evidence to prove the workers’ permanent partial disability claim, and represent the worker during the Industrial Commission hearing. This increases the worker's chances of getting the maximum PPD they are entitled to.
How to Maximize PPD
A worker can’t file for PPD for at least 26 weeks after returning to work. The same applies if there’s no lost time 26 weeks from when the worker got the injury. Continuing medical treatment through the period is very important until the worker reaches peak improvement level.
Is Permanent Partial Disability for Life?
Total disability benefits last when the worker is not performing their duties. The benefits are terminated when a doctor proves that the worker has reached maximum medical improvement. This is when the injury has stabilized, and no further improvement is expected.
Alternatively, approved PPD benefits may be lifelong. However, this depends on the severity of the condition and how the worker performs during the Industrial Commission of Ohio examination to determine eligibility. An experienced workers' compensation lawyer offers the necessary assistance is essential in increasing the chances of getting approved for lifelong PPD benefits.