If you have been permanently partially disabled on the job, you’ve already been through a lot. You have had to deal with your initial injury and recovery period. You have had to get used to the idea that your body is permanently partially disabled, and you may have significant lifestyle changes to make in order to adjust. The last thing you need is to deal with a state bureaucracy that has reduced your disability to a number in a loss table. It may be time to call an expert Workers Compensation attorney who can be an advocate for you.
Have you been awarded a benefit for permanent partial disability but you feel this award is too low or does not do justice to your injury or illness? Have you lost some part of your bodily function but you believe your disability rating is too low? You may need an attorney to assist you in your review of your award. Calbom & Schwab’s experienced Workers Compensation attorneys will go over your case with you and determine whether the amount of your award or your disability rating is too low. Although no amount of money can make up for the loss of some part of your bodily function, we will make sure you get benefits to the fullest extent of the law.
What is Permanent Partial Disability?
If you have been injured on the job or suffered an occupational illness and have lost some part of your bodily function as a result, then you may be eligible for a permanent partial disability (PPD) award. Under these circumstances, your doctor will likely clear you to return to work, and you may do so without jeopardizing your chances to receive PPD benefits. Your PPD award is not based on your lost earnings or your lost capacity to earn. It further does not include pain and suffering, so your level of pain will have no effect on your award.
Your award is based on the degree of the impairment you suffer, not whether you are able to work. How is this “degree of impairment” determined? The doctor who treated you during your illness or injury, or a state-appointed independent medical examiner, may examine you. This medical practitioner will use established standards to “rate” your disability. This rating will determine the amount of the award you get.
What If the Doctor Is Wrong?
While these examinations are performed in good faith, sometimes the doctor gets it wrong. After all, how can you really be compensated for the loss of a limb, a permanent head injury, or damage to an internal organ? Has the doctor considered your mental suffering and the state of your mental health? Have your physical injuries been fairly assessed?
For example, your injury, say, the loss of a toe may be rated by an examiner as fairly low. The fact that you are a ballet dancer doesn’t enter into the equation; therefore, neither does your depression over the fact that you can never again practice your art to its fullest extent. Calbom & Schwab will see to it that you are rated by a doctor who takes into account the full extent of your injury, including the mental stress caused by the impact on your career. The doctor who has been treating you all along is often the best choice to determine your disability rating. The state-appointed medical examiners are simply looking at your injury or illness as an entry in a table and may not have your best interests at heart.
Receiving Full Benefits
Too many workers do not receive their full benefits for partial permanent disability. A skilled Workers Compensation attorney can assist you with an appeal and get you the award you deserve. And don’t worry; if you have already received an award and need the money, you can cash your award check and still file an appeal.
Don’t wait, though, to contact an attorney. You must file your appeal for your PPD award within 60 days of receiving the award. If you have moved out of state since your work-related injury or illness, you may need to return to the State of Washington for your medical examination. Your travel, lodging, meal, and wage replacement expenses will be paid for by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry or your employer if your employer is self-insured.
Your initial consultation with Calbom & Schwab is free. Don’t wait to appeal your award if you feel it is unjust or too low.