When work accidents result in permanent disabilities, injured workers can get financial support by pursuing workers’ compensation claims. For such permanent disabilities, there are generally two options for benefits:
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits
- Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits
At Murphy & Associates, PLC, our Louisville workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience pursuing claims for PPD and PTD benefits. While our lawyers have a record of success when it comes to favorably resolving first-time claims, they are also skilled at winning appeals when our clients’ have been denied the full amount of benefits to which they are entitled.
How Much Are Permanent Disability Benefits?
According to the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act, benefits for permanent disabilities – both partial and total – are two-thirds (2/3) of the worker’s average weekly wage but no more than the state average weekly wage.
The state average weekly wage in Kentucky is announced annually by the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, and it actually represents the state average weekly wage from two years prior.
For 2015, this maximum rate has been set at $773.61. For PTD benefits, the law sets the minimum amount of benefit payments to be 20 percent of the state average weekly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
- Qualifying for PPD benefits – Permanent partial disability benefits are paid to workers who have a permanent disability rating but are still able to work. The Kentucky Labor Cabinet is careful to point out that the term “permanent” refers to the nature of the impairment (i.e., that the impairment is expected to endure for the foreseeable future) and not the period of benefit payments.
- Establishing disability – An injured worker’s doctor will give a worker a “permanent impairment rating,” which is a percentage describing the functional impairment to the whole body caused by the injury or condition. By law, doctors are required to use the fifth edition of the American Medical Association’s Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to determine the appropriate permanent impairment rating for injured workers.
- Term of benefit payments – While the term of PPD benefit payments will vary according to the nature of the impairment (and the permanent impairment rating given), the maximum period that these benefits are paid is 425 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
- Qualifying for PTD benefits – Permanent total disability benefits are paid when injured workers have a “complete and permanent inability to perform any type of work as a result of an injury” and have been given an impairment rating.
- Establishing impairment – Similar to establishing a permanent partial disability, with permanent total disability, a doctor will use the AMA’s Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to evaluate injured workers’ condition. A permanent total disability can only be determined to exist once a worker has reached his “maximum medical improvement” (i.e., the condition has stabilized and additional medical treatment will not result in improvement).According to Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws, a total disability will also be presumed to be present when workers have suffered:
- Total and permanent loss of vision in both eyes
- Total hearing loss
- Loss of both hands at or above the wrist
- Loss of both feet at or above the ankles
- Loss of one foot at or above the ankle and one hand at or above the wrist
- Irreversible and total paralysis in both arms, both legs or one arm and one leg
- Incurable insanity
- Term of benefit payments – PTD benefit payments will continue to be paid as long as the total disability persists. If the condition improves sufficiently so that the injured worker can return to work, these benefit payments can be reduced or even terminated.
Louisville Workers Compensation Lawyer at Murphy & Associates, PLC
Have you sustained a permanent disability as a result of work accident or injury? If so, it is time to contact a trusted Louisville workers compensation lawyer at Murphy & Associates, PLC.
Our team of experienced lawyers is dedicated to protecting injured workers’ rights, and we can help you obtain the full amount of benefits to which you are entitled – even if a prior claim was denied or your benefits have been terminated.