What’s Permanent Partial Disability? Should You Settle?

March 5 , 2014

Many workers’ compensation cases are based on temporary injuries. You may be unable to return to work for a few weeks – or maybe even months – but you can eventually go back to doing what you do to support yourself and your family. But in far too many cases, the injuries workers receive have lasting consequences. If your injury is too severe, and you won’t be returning to 100%, you may be able to file for PPD. If you were injured at work in North Carolina and now face lasting, permanent injuries, talk to the Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers at the Ramsay Law Firm today.

How Permanent Partial Disability Works For Workers’ Comp. In NC

Permanent Partial Disability, usually abbreviated PPD, is a payment from workers’ compensation to pay for permanent injuries. Some permanent injuries may leave you completely unable to work, and workers’ compensation may be able to provide ongoing support for these kinds of injuries. Things become more confusing, though, when your injury is permanent but does not completely stop you from working or using the injured part of your body.

For example, a construction worker whose leg is crushed in an accident may have suffered a permanent injury. This kind of injury is likely too severe to allow him to return to work as a construction worker, but he may be able to take his skills and knowledge from construction and find a job as a desk worker ordering or selling construction materials. He can still work and may have partial use of his leg, so Social Security may be unwilling to pay disability benefits. Instead, workers’ compensation may be the best option.

If you are forced to take a lower-paying job, workers’ compensation may help make up for the difference. Many injuries may cause minor changes, such as the inability to lift over 50 pounds or the inability to climb a ladder – but may otherwise leave you able to perform many of your previous job tasks. This may mean docked pay or a lower-paying position, even when the restrictions are minor. Workers’ comp payments can help to close the financial gap in cases of ongoing, partial disability.

Calculating Workers’ Comp With PPD

Usually, PPD is paid at particular amounts based on the remaining impairment after your injury has healed. Disability is usually converted into weeks, which increases for more severe injuries. The number of weeks is then multiplied by two-thirds of your average wage (66 2/3%). For instance, the loss (or loss of use) of a pinky finger may award 20 weeks of disability, the loss of a thumb 75 weeks, and the loss of a hand 200 weeks.

Once you have reached maximum medical improvement as determined by a physician, you may receive partial workers’ comp payments for a partial injury. Using the example above, someone with a crushed leg may never get back to full capacity.

When determining the proper payout, workers’ compensation usually looks at how much function or capacity they have lost because of the injury. For instance, a crushed leg may have lost 60% of its former abilities. The loss, in a percentage, will be used to calculate what percentage of the normal workers’ comp benefits they would receive. So, if the loss of a leg typically pays 200 weeks of benefits, 60% loss of function in a leg would pay 60% of that 200 weeks – 120 weeks of benefits.

The general rule for calculating benefits for PPD is to take the percent loss and pay that percentage. This loss in function is known as a “PPD rating.” This kind of calculation can apply to any permanent injury and is actually one of the most common ways that workers’ comp is calculated.

Should I Take A Lump-Sum Settlement For Workers’ Compensation PPD?

Traditionally, workers’ compensation is designed to pay ongoing wages to those who were injured. This means that a workers’ comp check can come in at regular intervals just like your paycheck did before the injury. However, many times people seek lump-sum settlements instead of ongoing payments.

Lump sum payments or settlements can be beneficial to the right employee and may not be the best option for everyone.  Since all workers’ compensation cases are different – and the individual’s needs unique – it is important to talk to a skilled lawyer about your case and customized financial recovery options.

Lump sums settlements may be ideal for someone who is not going to recover from their injury any further than they already have.

That means you will likely not incur future medical expenses, and the lump sum offered will cover your past and current expenses. A settlement could also be an option if your physicians and attorney agree that the settlement is enough to support you as you recover from your injury.

In many cases, a settlement is used when the amount that should be paid is disputed or you have to fight a denied claim. In other cases, a settlement may be used to avoid monthly income thresholds so that you can still receive payments from other services, such as disability payments. It is important to always discuss the option of receiving a lump-sum settlement with an attorney.

Charlotte Workers’ Comp Attorneys For Injured Employees Can Help

Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney at the Ramsay Law Firm represents injured workers in their workers’ compensation cases. If you suffered permanent loss of partial function in an accident rather than full loss of a limb, you may still be entitled to receive partial workers’ comp payments. Talk to one of our attorneys today about your case. For a free consultation, call our law offices today at (704) 376-1616.

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