To understand disability, a person must first define impairment. Impairment is the medical determination made by a doctor that establishes a certain permanent problem with a body part or body parts of the injured worker. What constitutes disability is taking those impairments, any restrictions imposed upon the person, as well as their age, education, transferable skills, work history, and other social or medical factors to determine the extent of their disability.
To best understand which of the various types of disability benefits may be relevant in your Charleston workers’ compensation case, it is important to contact an attorney. An experienced Charleston workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to help maximize any potential compensation you may be owed.
Any injury that takes the worker out of working their old job and potentially working in any other type of job could lead to temporary total or permanent total disability benefits. The most common are typically back injuries, shoulders, knees, wrists, hip, but really any type of injury or medical condition could lead to temporary total disability and permanent total disability for the injured worker.
Determining the Level of Impairment
The level of somebody’s disability can be very different from another. For example, somebody with a sixth-grade education that has a back injury is likely more disabled than somebody that has a graduate degree with the same injury.
Somebody that has no history of working a desk job or a sedentary job would be more disadvantaged in trying to find that job than somebody who has had a long history of working those types of jobs. The disability factor attempts to blend all of those social and medical factors in order to determine the type of disability claim an individual may pursue in their Charleston workers’ compensation case.
Temporary Partial Disability
Temporary partial disability is a common type of disability when discussing Charleston workers’ compensation cases. An example of a temporary partial disability claim is when an injured worker is working in the job, becomes injured, is able to return to work with the employer, but is placed either in a different position that pays less money, is working fewer hours per week, or a combination of the two.
In this situation, the injured worker is likely entitled to the difference between their pre-accident wage and post-accident wage in this temporary period while healing from the injuries. The worker is entitled to two-thirds of the difference between the pre-accident wage and the post-accident wage. This is on the temporary basis.
Once the claim reaches the maximum medical improvement, if the person is still in that position, that claim would convert from a temporary partial disability issue to a permanent partial disability issue or permanent partial wage loss issue. This is where the claimant would seek the maximum benefits going forward for their future wage loss.
Defining Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability constitutes as one of the many Types of Disability in Charleston Workers’ Compensation Cases. In the event that the claimant cannot return to any job, they would be classified as totally disabled. If this occurs while the claim is pending and they are out under the doctor’s orders on a temporary basis, that is considered temporary total disability and they are entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage. Once they reach the maximum medical improvement, it would go from being a temporary total disability situation to a permanent and total disability situation and the claimant would then be able to move for permanent total disability benefits or permanent total wage loss for the maximum benefits allowed under the act.
The injured worker can move for lifetime medical care and treatment because under the act, anybody that is totally and permanently disabled and/or has total and permanent wage loss is entitled to lifetime medical treatment. They can also move for the maximum benefits for permanent and total disability, permanent total wage loss which would be the maximum compensation rate allowed for that worker for the maximum number of weeks allowed to be paid out under the Workers’ Compensation Act on behalf of the injured worker.
Any injury that keeps the injured worker from returning to the type of the job they were doing prior to the work accident can recover money through disability. For example, if somebody was working as a delivery person making $20 an hour, they rupture a disk in their lower back, they have back surgery and are released to maximum medical improvement, and they are not able to go back to the job of being a delivery driver, they can pursue a type of Charleston workers’ compensation disability claim.
For example, this same person is re-trained and gets a job earning $10 an hour. They would then be entitled to, on a temporary basis while they are treating with the doctor, the difference between the old wage and the new wage while working in the new job.
If the individual is not working on a new job, they would get temporary total disability benefit. If they are working in the job making less money during the final fact of the case, the injured worker can move for permanent partial wage loss. They would look for maximum benefits between the pre-accident wage of $20 an hour, post-accident wage of $10 an hour, and be entitled to two-thirds of the difference in those two numbers for the maximum number of weeks allowed under the act.