Workers who get hurt on the job can take advantage of a number of benefits offered by workers' compensation insurance. In some cases, the injury ends up being permanent. Not all injuries, however, result in being 100% disabled. Read on to find out what might happen if you have a work-related permanent partial disability.
Regardless of the extent of your injuries, all hurt workers (if they qualify) are entitled to the same benefits during the first stage of coverage. As soon as you are hurt, you can seek medical treatment and thereafter all medical expenses are covered if your doctor ordered the treatment, surgery, diagnostic test, medication, and more. In addition to medical expense payment, workers who are ordered to stay home and recuperate are entitled to be paid a disability wage that is a percentage of their normal salary. These benefits will continue until you either return to work or you are ordered to have an independent medical exam.
The Permanent Injury Ruling
If you have been unable to return to work and the independent medical exam results in a ruling of maximum medical improvement (MMI), your benefit picture will change. MMI is another way of saying that you have a permanent injury. You may still need the medical expense benefit and a wage replacement, but the manner these benefits are provided will adjust accordingly.
Partial Disability Benefits
If you are determined by the workers' compensation doctor to be partially disabled, that means that your level of disability corresponds to a percentage point. For example, if you still have use of part of your body, you might be ruled to be 75% disabled rather than 100% disabled. No matter what the percentage of disability you have, you might still be able to work at a job. The finding of a partial disability, however, can reduce the amount of other benefits you might be entitled to receive.
For example, those who have a permanent disability may be offered a lump sum settlement. This financial settlement is meant to help cover the earnings a disabled person would have earned had they not become disabled. If the disability is less than 100%, the lump sum payment might be less as well.
Once you have been ruled to have a permanent disability, everything about your workers' comp benefits is negotiable. It is highly advisable to seek the help of a workers' compensation attorney to assist you in negotiating the best possible benefits package.
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