When you are injured on the job, you expect workers’ compensation to help you with medical costs and lost wages. After all, that is the point of workers’ compensation. When the injury is permanent, and you are considered disabled, you might wonder how that affects your compensation and whether you will receive a full payout for those injuries.
There are two main benefits paid when you are injured at work.
- Wage Loss Benefits – These are for a temporary disability where you will return to work afterward. Thus, you receive bi-weekly or monthly wage and medical costs.
- Permanent Disability Benefits – These are meant for workers who will not recover sufficiently enough to return to work. These are paid at the resolution of your workers’ compensation claim – not when it is filed.
How Permanent Disability Works in Savannah, GA
The first thing you must know about workers’ compensation settlements is that an insurance company does not have to settle your claim or pay out a settlement. Also, you do not have to accept the first settlement they give you. Therefore, if you disagree with the amount, or you feel that you are not being compensated adequately, you should speak with an injury attorney.
When you are considering a settlement for your permanent disability, you are seeking permanent partial disability or permanent total disability. Permanent partial disability means that you suffer some permanent impairment, which hinders your ability to work in the future. However, you might not be entirely disabled, and you could work in a different field or take a job that meets your new needs.
When you seek permanent total disability, you are unable to work the rest of your life. You might be permanently disabled, such as paralyzed, and unable to work in any field. In this case, you would seek compensation that covers your medical costs and permanent wages.
Total disability benefits are complicated to obtain, and in most cases, you will fall under partial disability rather than total disability. Only certain conditions are accepted to define someone as permanently total disabled. You must be diagnosed with a severe enough injury that keeps you from work indefinitely. If you cannot do any work in any employment capacity, then you would be labeled totally disabled and seek permanent total disability benefits from the state’s workers’ compensation fund.
Most injuries will fall under partial disability. Permanent partial disability does not consider your ability to work, or wage lost for a lifetime. Instead, it is based on other factors that are designed to compensate you for your injuries fully, but only until you can return to work.
There are four methods that workers’ compensation claims adjusters use to determine what settlement amount you should receive for your impairment.
- The impairment-based approach. This is the most common method used by workers’ compensation. Therefore, you are not reimbursed based on your wages or your ability to work. Instead, they use a scale that assigns a benefit amount based on the degree of your impairment. You will not receive any future earning losses through this method either.
- The loss of earnings approach. Not many states use this method, but there are currently 13 that still do. In this case, your benefit is calculated by considering how much you could earn or benefit in the current job market. Then it forecasts the economic impact your impairment has on your life.
- The wage-loss approach. Approximately ten states still use this method, and it involves paying for the actual losses that you will incur. You will receive this benefit after the maximum medical improvement stage has been met.
- The bifurcated approach. Very few states use this method anymore, but it considers your employment status at the time of your injury and after you have stabilized from your condition. The benefit is based on your degree of impairment if you can return to work. However, if you cannot returned to work, then it is based the degree of lost earning capacity.
The Settlement Arrangements
When you are partially or totally disabled from a workplace injury, you could receive one of two types of settlements from workers’ compensation. One option is the lump-sum method, which means one large payment upfront. The second option is a structured settlement. Structured settlements are small payments over a period that is arranged during negotiations. Sometimes structured payments come over the course of one year while other times the payments are distributed over the course of ten years.
Why You Need a Workers Compensation Attorney
When you have been injured at work, and you know that the doctor agrees you are permanently or partially disabled, the workers’ compensation adjuster may not be as quick to settle or give you the amount of compensation you need. Permanent disabilities often have medical costs that you may not think about when taking a settlement. However, a worker’s compensation attorney knows these costs and can help estimate the actual value of your disability case to ensure you do not settle for less than you deserve.
Speak with an Injury Attorney Today about Your Disability
If you have suffered a severe work injury and are partially or totally disabled, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your impairment.
To ensure you get the amount of money you deserve for your long-term costs, speak with attorney Clarke Nash. Clarke has been helping injured workers in Georgia, just like you, receive benefits for permanent disabilities.
Speak with him today during a free case evaluation at 912-200-5292 or request more information online.