Permanent Disability Workers’ Compensation
A severe accident may leave a worker permanently disabled or disfigured. In some instances, the employee may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation for the remainder of his or her life. These awards are designed to compensate for the severe financial impact that permanent injury can cause. Permanent injuries result in lost wages, extensive long-term medical costs, and a decreased work capacity. If a permanent injury or disfigurement prevents an individual from finding gainful employment, workers’ compensation can keep the person out of financial distress.
The compensation—both the dollar amounts and the length of time it shall be received for—are dependent upon the injury and generally determined on a case-by-case basis. According to Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, the most common compensation is two-thirds of average wages. Compensation rates differ depending on whether the victim suffered permanent partial disability or permanent total disability.
A doctor will determine the level of damage, and compensation will be set accordingly. For a permanent partial disability, the length of compensation is dependent upon the body part that received damage. If a 100 percent loss of functioning in a hand entitles a victim to 200 weeks of compensation, a 50 percent loss of functioning entitles the victim to half of that—or 100 weeks of compensation. Partial loss of functioning of only a thumb, however, may only result in a few weeks of compensation. The total amounts awarded vary depending on a number of circumstances.
Individuals who suffer permanent total disability in a body part may be awarded permanent total disability compensation. This compensation generally covers medical expenses and 2/3 of lost wages for the remainder of the injured person’s life.
Permanent disfigurement compensation may be awarded when the individual suffers severe scarring on the face or head, or permanent damage to an internal organ. Workers who experience permanent disfigurement in a workplace accident may receive between $10,000 and $20,000.