After a work-related injury or illness, you may be unable to return to work or at least not in the same capacity. If you qualify, you may be able to get permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits through workers’ compensation.
To be eligible for PPD benefits, you must first:
Once you have either recovered or reach the point where you are unlikely to improve further, known as maximal medical improvement (MMI), your doctor will determine if you have permanent impairments. Tests and exams will be completed to see if the work-related injury caused lasting conditions or any loss of functions (e.g., paralysis, numbness, hearing loss, etc.)
The results of your treating physician’s exams and tests will be critical to whether you are approved for permanent partial disability benefits through workers’ comp. If you have permanent impairments, your doctor will use guidelines to give each affected body part a permanent disability rating, which describes the severity. For example, a lower back injury that has a 60% PPD rating can prevent you from jobs that include heavy lifting, driving for long periods, etc. As a result, your future earnings can be limited by your impairment, which PPD benefits can compensate for.
If you suffered a pre-existing condition that was aggravated by your work-related injury or illness, your PPD rating would likely be split between the old and new injuries. In effect, your PPD benefits can be lowered accordingly.
Based on the assigned level of impairment by your treating physician, the percentage along with your income and age at the time of the injury will be used to calculate your compensation. As a rule of thumb, each impairment percentage equals an award of 0.6% of your monthly income—for example, if you are 15% impaired and you earn $3,000 each month on average, the formula would be as follows: (0.006) x 3,000 x 15 = $270. Therefore, you would receive $270 per month. Distributions begin when temporary total disability benefits end (after 24 months) and will continue for five years or until you turn 70.
The calculation is slightly different for people who are considered over 30% impaired, which can be found on the Permanent Partial Disability Award Calculation Worksheet for Disability Over 30% Body Basis.
Injured workers eligible for permanent partial disability benefits can request that an award of up to 30% be paid in a lump sum reduced to present value. The remainder of the award will be paid in installments.
These areas of workers’ compensation can be confusing. We can help you figure out if you qualify for permanent partial disability benefits. Schedule a free consultation with our Las Vegas workers’ compensation lawyer online today or by calling (702) 384-1414.