U.S. employers reported about 2.1 million work-related injuries in 2020, a significant drop from 2.7 million incidents the previous year. In most cases, these workplace accidents have resulted in injuries ranging from a few bumps and bruises to catastrophic injuries that alter the course of a person’s life leaving them with permanent disabilities.
All workers who are injured in the workplace are entitled to compensation with very few exemptions. This means that the employer must have insurance coverage for the workers. Those who don’t may have to pay employee damages out of pocket.
Often, workers’ compensation insurance takes a no-fault approach. An employee is entitled to compensation for damages even when the injury is not caused by another person or does not involve an element of negligence. However, the work accident must have occurred within the scope and scope of their work.
Understanding Permanent Disability
A permanent disability is a condition that limits your ability to earn a living after reaching your maximum medical improvement (MMI). There are two main types of permanent disabilities; permanent partial disability and permanent total disability.
Partial permanent disability is the type of disability that robs you of your ability to function at full capacity. This disability can include things like the loss of a limb or severed fingers. On the other hand, total permanent disability is any condition that makes you unable to return to work in the future.
Compensation for Permanent Disability
An injury cannot be classified as a permanent disability unless a physician determines that a claimant has reached their MMI. Prior to this, the claimant can only receive disability benefits temporarily. Once the doctor determines that a victim has reached their MMI, they assign the victim a disability rating to determine the value of the benefits they can recover.
A person with a permanent total disability will have a disability rating of 100%, while a partial permanent disability will receive a rating between 1 and 99% depending on their limitations.
Victims who suffer from a permanent total disability are entitled to a weekly indemnity corresponding to two-thirds of what they earned before their injury. An employee will also be entitled to a pension after reaching retirement age. A worker who suffers from permanent partial disability can only obtain damages up to the level of his disability. Different states may take different approaches to settling damages, so you may want to speak to your personal injury attorney.
Good and Bad Sides of Workers Compensation
There is a good and a bad side to workers’ compensation insurance. The good part is that it’s easier to navigate than other injury claims. The downside is that you cannot recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
However, your lawyer can help you explore other ways to recover from pain and suffering if there is evidence that the employer intentionally caused the accident or was grossly negligent. In such circumstances, it is possible to recover punitive damages. The court often awards these damages in rare circumstances to punish the defendant for gross negligence and deter others from engaging in the same behavior.
Get a lawyer
While workers’ compensation is simpler than other injury claims, it’s no picnic. “Insurers will always want to reduce your claim, especially because permanent disability claims involve a large payout,” says personal injury attorney Jan Dils of Jan Dils Attorneys at Law.
Additionally, the process of classifying and assessing disabilities can be quite technical. You may need someone to enforce your rights. Therefore, it is essential to hire an attorney when navigating any catastrophic injury claim. If your injuries are nothing more than bruises and scrapes, you may not need it.