There are different levels of disability that can result from serious work injuries: temporary partial disability (TPD); permanent partial disability (PPD); permanent total disability (PTD); and fatal injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage and benefits for all of these types of disabilities. As you might imagine, insurance companies do not like paying out permanent or large payments and will often challenge claims of disability. For this reason, it can be very helpful to be represented by an attorney.
TEMPORARY PARTIAL DISABILITY
TPD is the situation that arises when your injury is so severe that it prevents you from being able to return to work for a time. Unfortunately, unless you personally carry supplemental insurance, you will not be able to recover your full wage. You will generally be able to receive 2/3 of your average weekly pay wage until you are medically able to return to work. That wage can be subject to debate for those in industries like construction, where income is variable.
If your injury is so severe that it prevents you from returning to work in the same role, you may be entitled to permanent benefits. However, before permanent disability benefits will be considered, the treating medical profession must determine that the worker has reached their maximum medical improvement (MMI); in other words, that the worker’s medical condition will not improve anymore. Once MMI is achieved, the disability analysis usually arises in two different situations, each with different benefits.
In the first situation, the worker is permanently disabled, and because of the disability is unable to return to their former position, but can still work in a different capacity; for example, a construction worker who is no longer able to perform construction duties but could complete administrative tasks at a desk. This is called permanent partial disability. The process for determining compensation rates for these types of injuries is complex and depends in large part on what the specific injury is and how severe it is.
In the second situation, a worker’s disability is so severe that it prevents them from ever being able to return to work in any capacity. Workers in his situation are generally entitled to receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage for life. This is known as permanent total disability.
Workers’ compensation is generally thought of as a means of getting medical bills paid when an injury occurs on the job. What many don’t know is that it also provides benefits when the on-the-job injury is fatal. When this occurs, surviving spouses and children may be entitled to weekly workers’ compensation death benefits.