Most states, including D.C., Virginia and Maryland, include permanent partial disability benefits or permanent impairment benefits in their workers compensation laws. Need a simple run down on workers' compensation? Click here to order a free book about the workers comp system.
Now, let's get to benefits for a permanent injury.
What is a permanent impairment and what are permanent partial disability benefits (ppd)?
Workers' compensation laws in all three jurisdictions include a schedule of weeks available for permanent partial disability benefits and these schedules, body parts and benefit rates vary according to the workers' compensation system the injured worker receives benefits in.
Generally, these benefits are designed to compensate an injured employee for an on the job injury after he or she has reached maximum medical improvement and returned to gainful employment - either light duty or full duty. For example, a worker with a torn rotator cuff may be able to return to work despite the rotator cuff tear. He or she should be paid temporary total disability benefits while unable to work. After returning to work and reaching maximum medical improvement, a doctor may give that injured employee a disability rating or impairment rating - expressed as a percentage disability. Usually, the AMA Guides for the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment are used by the physician, and other factors may be incorporated into the rating, such as pain, atrophy, wasting, loss of strength and loss of endurance.
DC, Maryland and Virginia workers' compensation systems compensate injured workers differently for permanent partial disability.
For example, D.C. and Virginia do not allow for impairment ratings to the neck, back or whole body. Maryland allows whole body and "other cases" - shoulder, neck, back - disability ratings and claimants can receive benefits for permanent injuries to these body parts under Maryland's schedule. Maryland workers' compensation has different tiers depending upon the severity of the impairment that determine the compensation rate for the permanence award. Virginia and D.C. use the employee's workers' compensation rate (2/3 of the average weekly wage) to pay permanent impairment awards.
When and whether to obtain permanent partial disability in a D.C., Virginia or Maryland workers' compensation case will depend on a number of factors - the most significant factor is where your compensation case is filed. The workers compensation statutes are different in D.C., Virgina and Maryland, and so are the benefits.
You can order one of our free books or reports for more information. Particularly, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers' Compensation will give you a great foundation for understand the workers' comp system.
But the reality is, if you have a permanent injury, you should talk to an experienced workers comp lawyer. For minor injuries, if someone was only out of work a short time or didn't need ongoing medical treatement, we often encourage people to handle those workers comp claims themselves. But the workers comp systems in DC, Maryland and Virginia are too complex (and favor the insurance companies) to handle on your own. Those insurance companies have an army working against you - adjusters, nurse case managers, lawyers, doctors, etc.
Their only job is to deny, delay or reduce your workers comp benefits. And they're good at it.
So just call us at (202) 393-3320. A real person will answer the phone and start helping you. Every week we schedule times to answer questions about work injuries and workers' compensation in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
It's free, confidential, absolutely no obligation, and you'll get good information that can help. So call to schedule a time to talk today, because you can bet your adjuster is talking to her lawyer about your case.