If you've been hurt at work, you are very likely covered by workers' comp benefits. This valuable perk ensures that no medical expenses related to the accident come from your pocket and even allows you paid time to stay home and recuperate. There are several levels of workers' comp coverage, and one of them is partially disabled. Read on to gain a better understanding of what this means and how to qualify for it.
Three Levels of Workers Compensation Benefits
1. Temporary Disability. This is the commonly-used form of workers' comp that normally results in a return to work after a short convalescent period. The injuries covered under this form can vary, however, from minor to severe, and the temporary time period can also vary depending on the nature and severity of the injury. At some point, if you have not been able to return to work, the insurance company may request that you undergo a special medical exam to determine the extent of your injuries and the possibility of either a return to work, continued temporary benefits, or a deeming of a permanent full or partial disability.
2. Permanent Full Disability. This ruling can occur early on in the process if you have a severe injury, such as an amputation or spinal injury. It can also occur later in the process if your injury that was expected to heal has not done so. The ruling of a permanent disability means that you have reached what the workers' comp insurance company calls maximum medical improvement, meaning that no further improvement is expected.
3. Partial Permanent Disability. Just as with a full disability, you have reached maximum medical improvement and will likely never work at your previous position again. Since the permanent disability is ruled to be a partial one, it may mean that you can return to some job in some position and to do some work under certain conditions, however.
How is a Partial Permanent Disability Determined?
Partial disability injuries are assigned a rating, based on the results of the special medical exam that you underwent, called the Independent Medical Exam (IME). While the form of the rating varies from state to state, it is normally either a percentage or a number. For example, you may be deemed to be 75% disabled, based on your IME exam. This number will determine the amount of compensation that you will receive for your injury and how long you will receive it, among other things.
What Compensation Can I Expect?
For partial disabilities, you may be offered the opportunity to participate in vocational training, which provides re-training for a new position at no cost to you. For example, if your partial disability involves losing the use of your legs, you may be re-trained to do a desk job. Depending on your disability rating, you may be able to return to work part-time or light duty. The monetary compensation is expected to make up for any reduced salary. For most permanent disabilities, even partial ones, the benefits will likely continue for your lifetime, but may be paid lump sum, weekly or monthly.
Be sure to discuss your case with a workers' comp attorney to ensure that you get the benefits that you need and deserve. For more information, contact Hamilton Law Firm, P.C. or a similar organization.