Suffering an injury at work can be downright scary. It is particularly problematic if it results in the partial permanent loss of function or mobility.
You may be worried about your future and whether partial disability benefits apply to you. Rest assured because EMP Law is well-versed and experienced in all areas of North Carolina workers’ compensation law.
What Is Permanent Partial Disability?
In workers’ comp law, many words and phrases may be unfamiliar to you until they apply to you. The different types of disability classifications are just some of them.
In North Carolina, there are several types of workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled, but this article will focus on one: permanent partial disability (PPD).
Permanent partial disability refers to a permanent injury that results in loss of function to the affected body part and is expected to last the rest of your life.
PPD is just one of the remedies available to injured workers, and may not be the best remedy available. If the permanent disability prevents you from returning to work at your previous employer, forces you to change job responsibilities, or requires you to seek entirely new employment elsewhere, selecting your PPD rating may not be the best outcome for your case.
Consulting with one of our experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys will gladly answer your questions and help you determine if accepting your PPD rating is the best result for you .
North Carolina PPD
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires almost every employer with three or more employees to provide workers’ compensation benefits to any employee that gets sick or injured while carrying out their job duties. In other words, permanent partial disability is a benefit available through your employer’s workers’ comp insurance.
PPD payments begin after an injured employee reaches what is known as a maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is when an individual has recovered as much as possible, and no additional or further treatment will improve their condition.
The patient’s treating physician will determine if the injury has healed as much as it is going to, and any remaining impairment or loss of function is likely permanent. The physician then assigns a disability rating to the affected body part between 0 and 100 percent based on its lost function.
How to Calculate Permanent Partial Disability
When dealing with many areas of the law, there is no exact formula or calculation to determine benefits or damages. However, workers’ comp is full of formulas, and PPD is no exception.
Your PPD benefit payment will be based on your compensation rate (two-thirds of your average weekly wage before your work injury) multiplied by your disability rating and the number of weeks assigned to that body part under NCGS §97-31, the schedule of injuries.
According to the North Carolina schedule, the duration of payments (i.e., how long you will receive payments) depends on your disability rating and the affected body part.
The workers’ compensation permanent partial disability calculation is as follows:
Weekly Wage x 66.67% x Weeks Assigned to Body Part x Disability Rating = PPD Payment
For instance, if before your back injury, you made $1,000 per week and suffered a back injury with a disability rating of 20% to the back, therefore payable for up to 300 weeks under § 97-31(23), it will calculate out as follows:
$1,000 x 66.67% x 300 x 20% = $40,000 Permanent Partial Disability Payment
Understanding the disability ratings, schedules, and anticipated payments can be complex. Let us do the work for you. You have enough on your plate in coping with your injury, and you don’t need the added headache of navigating the workers’ comp process on your own.
Permanent Partial Disability Examples
There can be dozens of injuries resulting in a permanent partial disability.
However, some common types of injuries include the following:
- Back injuries,
- Shoulder injuries (e.g., rotator cuff tear),
- Partial hearing loss,
- Nerve damage,
- Knee and hip injuries,
- Scaring and disfigurement,
- Wrist and elbow injuries, and
- Amputation of a finger or limb.
It is important to remember that this list is not all-inclusive, and you may suffer a PPD injury not listed here. In addition, you may be eligible for more than one rating depending on the body parts affected. One of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will gladly answer your questions and help you determine if your injury may qualify as a permanent partial disability.
Contact Our North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyers
At EMP Law, we have a team with over 140 years of combined experience, so we understand what a challenging and problematic time this is in your life.
Facing a permanent disability of any magnitude is life-changing. Let us help you through the permanent partial disability benefits process. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to ensure you receive maximum benefits.