Whether you work in an office, a warehouse, or a heavy truck, injury or illness can strike even the most cautious employee. Many injuries are minor, like a cut or a sprained ankle. But a major accident can leave you seriously injured or even disfigured to the point where you don’t expect to make a full recovery. In cases like these, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits through workers’ compensation.
DO I QUALIFY FOR PARTIAL PERMANENT DISABILITY OR TOTAL PERMANENT DISABILITY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may qualify for either partial permanent disability or total permanent disability. Partial permanent disability is the most common type of workers’ compensation claim. These benefits are paid to someone who isn’t totally disabled, but who has some sort of lasting impairment that will modify their ability to perform their job. Total permanent disability, on the other hand, is a term used when a person is injured or sick to the point where they are unable to work in any occupation for which they are suited by training, education, or experience.
In general, there are three main qualifiers that will determine your eligibility to collect permanent disability benefits through workers’ compensation.
YOUR DISABILITY MUST BE A WORK-RELATED INJURY
As with all workers’ compensation claims, you must be able to prove that your injury or illness is related to your job in order to collect permanent disability benefits. Whether you fell and broke your ankle at an off-site business meeting or have become sick over time as a result of being exposed to toxic fumes, it’s important that your medical records reflect your claim that the incident is indeed work-related. A workers’ compensation attorney can be very helpful in this stage by gathering your medical records, arranging treatment with doctors who specialize in your condition and calling expert witnesses to testify at your trial.
YOUR RECOVERY FROM YOUR DISABILITY HAS HIT A PLATEAU
Second, before you can collect permanent disability benefits, your doctor has to determine your recovery has hit a plateau and that your condition isn’t likely to improve with additional treatment. When this happens, you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, also called MMI. At this point, your temporary disability payments will expire and your employer’s insurance carrier will assess whether you have any permanent limitations that will prevent you from performing your job.
YOU MUST HAVE LASTING IMPAIRMENTS FROM YOUR DISABILITY
The final qualifier for determining your eligibility for permanent disability benefits is that your condition must have lasting effects that will limit the type of work you can do. For example, you injured your shoulder and you can no longer lift heavy items. If you work in construction, this will have a major impact on your ability to compete in the job market. In this instance, you would be awarded permanent disability benefits to compensate you for your lasting impairment.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS CAN HELP WITH DISABILITY CLAIMS
At The Law Office of Matthew Russell in San Diego, we understand that sorting through the paperwork and navigating the complex workers’ compensation system can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Our professional attorneys have years of experience helping injured workers determine their eligibility for permanent disability benefits, and we would be honored to do the same for you.