Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Permanent Partial Disability

I previously discussed three types of benefits that apply to injured workers who either cannot work or can only perform limited work due to a work injury. Many people think once those benefits end or you return to work that your claim is closed. That is not the case. In fact, there are still some benefits available regardless of returning to work or if you work for the same employer. One such benefit is permanent partial disability – sometimes called PP or PPD, or a C92 due to the form used to request it.

What Is Permanent Partial Disability

Often people hear about permanent partial disability and think that they have to be fully disable to get it. However, that is not the case.

A permanent partial disability award is based on having an ongoing impairment from the injury. The BWC has you sent to an examination where they determine an impairment percentage.

The impairment percentage is based on how much of your entire body is impaired. So for instance, if you could barely use your thumb due to a work injury you certainly would not have a 100% impairment because your thumb is a small part of your body. But an injury equally severe to your pinky may be less than the thumb because you use your thumb more than the pinky.

Can You Appeal The BWC’s Percentage Finding?

In short, yes.

Once the BWC gets its report back, an order will be issued with the percentage. Either the employer or the injured worker has the right to appeal. It is very frequent that we disagree and appeal the BWC’s order.

In order to be successful in an appeal, you need to have another doctor rebut the BWC doctor’s findings. Our firm will handle getting this information needed from a doctor, as well as the hearing at the Industrial Commission.

How Is A Permanent Partial Percentage Paid?

A permanent partial award is a one time payment. However, the way that payment is calculated can be a little confusing.

First, each percentage point approved converts into two “weeks”.

To calculate the rate that a “week” gets paid at for permanent partial purposes, look at the Average Weekly Wage. Each week can be paid at 66.67% of the Average Weekly Wage. However, there is a maximum rate that the weekly amount cannot surpass.

For injuries occurring in 2017, that maximum rate is $300.67. This means that even if you make $1,000 a week pre-injury, you cannot get more than $300.67 per week on a percentage award (which would mean $601.34 per percentage point since each point is 2 weeks).

 

Applying for a permanent partial award on your own can be difficult. If you have a workers’ compensation claim you should call our firm to discuss whether you are entitled to this award – even if the claim is several years old or you have returned to work.

Next time I will discuss another benefit that many injured workers do not often get – a lump sum settlement.

By Kristin Cool

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