Maximum Medical Improvement and Permanent Partial Disability Ratings
Permanent Partial Disability benefits are one of several types of North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits employees can receive following an on-the-job injury or diagnosis of an occupational disease. Permanent partial disability benefits are paid when a worker’s injuries to one or more body parts or bodily systems prevent them from working. For example, you may receive Permanent Partial Disability benefits if you lost your hand in a construction accident. However, you can also receive Permanent Partial Disability benefits if you didn’t lose your hand but lost significant use of your hand. Additionally, workers may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits even they did not miss any time from work due to their injury.
At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we help injured workers navigate the complex workers’ compensation process in pursuit of the benefits they deserve. We can help you understand maximum medical improvement and permanent partial disability ratings and answer any other questions you have about the process.How Does Your Permanent Partial Disability Rating Play into Your Weekly Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
As part of your workers’ compensation benefits, you are entitled to receive medical treatment for your work-related injury. However, at some point, no additional medical treatment will improve your condition. This is referred to as your maximum medical improvement. Reaching your maximum medical improvement does not mean your medical treatment has ended, but it signifies the end of the healing period.
Once the workers’ compensation doctor determines you have reached your maximum medical improvement, they may assign you a permanent partial disability rating. Your permanent partial disability rating will determine the amount of permanent partial disability benefits you are entitled to.
The North Carolina workers' compensation laws provide a schedule of compensation for injuries to various body parts. Your rating, along with the schedule of compensation, will be used to calculate your entitlement to permanent partial disability benefits. For example, an injury involving the loss of use of a hand provides a worker with 200 weeks of benefits. If their disability rating is 75 percent, the Industrial Commission would use the following formula:
.75 (the employee’s impairment rating) x 200 (maximum period of benefits) x two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage = The employee’s Permanent Partial Disability benefit amount.
Importantly, injured workers have a legal right to seek a second opinion if they disagree with the permanent partial disability rating. The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC can assist you with determining if a second opinion is necessary in your case and, if so, with selecting a doctor to render a second opinion. A higher rating from another provider may increase your weekly permanent partial disability benefits.
Additionally, injured workers must make an election of benefits once they are placed at maximum medical improvement. An injured worker often must choose whether to receive permanent partial disability benefits or seek ongoing wage-loss benefits. It can be difficult to decide which set of future workers' compensation benefits will be the most beneficial for you and your family. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we can help you evaluate your options to maximize your future compensation.Talk with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer About Maximum Medical Improvement and Permanent Partial Disability Ratings
If you have questions about maximum medical improvement and Permanent Partial Disability ratings, you are not alone. These are complex topics, and many injured workers are wrestling with the same things you are. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we have a board-certified specialist in North Carolina workers' compensation on staff who is available to meet with you in a free and confidential consultation. We can answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action to maximize your disability rating and all future workers’ compensation benefits. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation* with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach one of our Concord workers’ compensation lawyers at 704-918-4747.