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Getting Permanent Disability Benefits in a Workers' Comp Claim

Getting Permanent Disability Benefits in a Workers' Comp Claim

The typical workers’ compensation claim will only last a few weeks or months before the injured employee heals completely and can resume regular work duties. This is clearly an ideal situation, as no one wants to be injured so critically that it ends their career or debilitates them for life. But what if it does? Can workers’ compensation benefits be permanent?

Reaching MMI & Getting Rated

In every injury case that reaches a doctor or medical team, the patient has an MMI, or maximum medical improvement. When it appears that no amount of medicine, rehabilitation, or surgery will improve their physical health, the patient has reached their MMI. At this point, if a worker still cannot resume their previous work duties, it cannot be expected that they ever will be.

Temporary disability benefits will need to be turned into permanent disability benefits at this point. Not all permanent disability benefits are the same, however. An individual can be permanently disabled but only partially, or permanently disabled and completely so. The patient’s doctor, insurer, and employer will need to agree upon their disability rating to determine how much workers’ compensation benefits they need each month.

Permanent disability rating can be influenced by the patient’s:

  • Age
  • Injury
  • Wages – past, current, and potential
  • Job description & expectations

Anyone who receives a disability rating that is not 100% is considered permanently partially disabled; a 100% rating is the only way to be considered permanently and totally disabled. For example, an individual who can no longer walk but performs office work at a computer would likely not be considered totally disabled, despite the severity of their health condition. On the other hand, a police officer with the same debilitation could be rated as totally permanently disabled due to the fact that the job requires them to be quick on their feet.

Receiving the proper amount of workers’ compensation benefits and for a fair amount of time can depend entirely on how you file your claim, make your case, and prove your disability’s severity. In order to improve your chances of getting the help that you need, contact Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law and speak to our firm’s workers’ compensation lawyer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With our assistance, you can be confident that your claim will be taken seriously.

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