Sometimes it’s easy to see that a worker is unable to work because of an injury or illness. Other injuries are not so obvious. And sometimes a worker will be only partially disabled, which may be even more difficult to understand.
Workers’ compensation benefits pay workers who have been injured or ill because of their job. An on-the-job injury could be caused from something like falling off a ladder, excessive noise, repetitive motions, heavy lifting, or exposure to toxic substances including radiation. Injuries could include head trauma, strained muscles, carpal tunnel syndrome, broken bones, cancer and so on. A doctor or other medical provider must verify that a worker has been injured and that it is work-related for a worker to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The doctor may also state the level of disability – partially or full, for example – and whether the disability is temporary or permanent.
Workers’ Compensation for Partially Disabled Worker – Temporary
Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits may be paid to an employee who is not completely recovered from their work-related injury or illness.
In addition, a worker may be advised to work a light duty job. If the employer does not have that type of job available, the worker may receive TPD benefits.
Consider this example:
Rodney was injured while working on a construction site. He wants to return to work, but his doctor will not allow him to lift heavy objects or drive heavy machinery. Rodney’s employer, the XYZ Construction Company does not have any light duty jobs for Rodney. Until he is fully healed, Rodney may get temporary workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation for Partially Disabled Workers – Permanent
Permanent partial disability (PPD) involves workers with the following injuries:
- The complete or partial loss of a part of the body; or
- The complete or partial loss of use of a part of the body; or
- The partial loss of use of the body as a whole.
The words “loss of use” may mean that the worker is not able to perform the way they did before the injury. In other words, an employee does not have to “lose” their arm to be considered permanently partially disabled. The employee just has to be unable to work with the injured arm the way they did before the injury.
There are four types of PPD benefits:
- Wage Differential. An employee may have to take a lesser-paying job due to a work-related injury. Workers’ compensation may pay the difference between their previous income and current income.
- Schedule of Injuries. Workers’ compensation may pay benefits based on the percentage of disability for certain parts of the body.
- Non-schedule injuries. Compensation is based on the entire person losing the ability to work.
- Disfigurement. Employees with certain disfiguring injuries may receive compensation.
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