If you have been injured at work in any sort of severity, then that injury may leave you permanently limited in your working capacity. This means that if you can no longer do your job or intend to look for a new job in the future, you might have a hard time getting employment elsewhere. This is the purpose of permanent disability. These settlements and benefit amounts are meant to make up for the loss of future income.
However, you can’t just say you have been permanently injured and expect the benefits to roll in. You will first need to get a permanent disability rating that will deem how permanently disabled you are and thus how much of a settlement you will get.
In order to get a permanent disability rating, your doctors or a doctor who handles worker’s compensation cases will wait until your injury is at a stationary level, and then examine it to see if there will be any lasting damage. It is worth knowing that some treating physicians may refuse to give you a permanent disability rating for reasons of bias and recommend an independent medical examiner who is experienced with such things to take over. This is most common with family doctors that aren’t necessarily experienced in this field. It is also worth noting that your employer or insurance company may also request a rating from an independent medical examiner, too. In this case, you have every right to refuse unless your case has gone to court.
No matter which or how many doctors do their tests to give you a permanent disability rating for your work injury, the experience will primarily be the same. While the tests they run differ depending on the injury and the area of the injury, they are all non-invasive. For example, if you injured your shoulder, tests will be done to determine things like range of motion.
After the tests are completed, you doctor will use the state-required guidelines to determine the degree, if any, of permanent disability you have. Often, the results are given out in percentages. Such as, using the above example of an injured shoulder, you may have five percent disability because you have a slightly slower response rate or range of motion in your shoulder. For multi-body part injuries, each body is given a separate disability rating, although they may be looked at both cumulatively and separately when it comes time to determine a settlement.
After you have finally gotten both individual and total permanent disability ratings for your injury, then it is time to talk settlements through worker’s compensation. While it differs from state to state, in Minnesota, permanent disability benefits may be given in a lump sum or given weekly.
If your permanent disability rating is above 17 percent for your entire body, you may qualify for permanent total disability, in which the settlement will need to pay two-thirds of their salary until you reach the age of 67, when you are presumed retired. Otherwise your injury is consider permanent partial disability and will be paid in a lump sum or weekly checks based on how high your disability score is.
Every injury and the percentage of permanent disability is worth a different amount, and that amount can change in each settlement. It makes putting a monetary value on permanent injuries frustrating, at best, but this is where having a skilled worker’s compensation attorney is worth it. If you were in an accident at work in the Mankato area, contact us today. The Law Offices of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter have seen all types of worker’s compensation injuries, and we know what your injury is worth to you, assuring you don’t get short-changed in your settlement.
Contact A Mankato Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Contact the law office of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter today at (507) 625-3000 for a free case review. We are located in Mankato, Minnesota.