What is Permanent Partial Disability and How is it Proven?

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

permanent partial disabilityContrary to popular myth, the d-word is not a medical diagnosis, at least in the workers’ compensation context. Instead, disability is an “inability to earn an income.” The disability could be total, which means the victim cannot work at all. It can also be partial, which means their activity, and therefore their ability to earn money is limited. In some cases, a workplace injury is totally disabling. The victim cannot work ever again. Other disabilities are partially disabling.

Permanent partial disabilities have some unique proof issues, which are outlined below. Furthermore, insurance company lawyers are quick to argue that long-term compensation is inappropriate in these cases. So, victims need experienced Rockford workers’ compensation attorneys to represent them throughout the process. Otherwise, they will most likely wind up settling for less.

Lost Income

Most workers’ compensation injuries are temporary disabilities. Lost wage benefits are somewhat straightforward in these matters. Usually, victims are entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the duration of these disabilities. A Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) claim is different. A Rockford workers’ compensation lawyer must determine loss of use and loss of income.

To determine lost use, most attorneys use a rating system similar to the VA disability system. Assume Ben is struggling with work-related hearing loss. The first order of business in this area is to determine Ben’s lost use. Typically, the extent of disability depends on his hearing loss symptoms.

There are indirect symptoms as well. Since people with hearing loss have trouble following conversations, they often withdraw from family and friends. The resulting depression could be worse than the hearing loss itself.

The extent of disability is only one step in the lost wages determination process. Next, an attorney must calculate how the disability will affect the victim’s earning potential. Once again, hearing loss is a good illustration. The direct effects might be negligible. But the indirect effects could be huge. For example, supervisors might view workers who have trouble engaging in “small talk” as aloof or even unhappy. These individuals often get passed over for promotions and other opportunities.

Finally on this point, as mentioned above, disability is not just a medical term. All aspects of this condition, such as vocational and education aspects, come into play.

Medical Bills

Calculating future lost income in a PPD claim is difficult. Frequently, calculating future medical expenses is even more challenging.

Insurance companies often dispute the need for future medical expenses. That’s especially true if the victim is close to MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). Lawyers often argue that there is no need for intensive future medical treatment in these situations since they contend such treatment would do little good.

Attorneys usually work closely with doctors in these situations. These physicians accurately assess the need for future medical treatment.

The reasonableness of a medical bill is usually a favorite point of contention for insurance company lawyers. PPD claims are no exception. For example, the insurance company might claim that Ben only needs a new hearing aid when the one he has wears out. However, Ben could greatly benefit from the new technology that new hearing aids feature. So, he arguably could use a new hearing aid at least twice a year.

Reach Out to a Hard-Working Winnebago County Attorney

Accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford workers’ compensation lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd by going online or calling 815-315-0574. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

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