Understand how PPD benefits are calculated and awarded to ensure you get the compensation you deserve
If you’ve been injured at work in Charlotte, understanding your right to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits is vital to ensuring your financial security. PPD applies when an employee is left with a lasting but partial disability after a work-related injury, illness or disease.
This comprehensive guide will explain the intricacies of PPD, including the difference between full and partial disabilities, how PPD ratings are determined and how these benefits are calculated.
If you need help filing a workers’ comp claim or determining how much your injury is worth, reach out to the experienced Charlotte work injury attorneys at Wiler Pantazis Law Group for a free consultation.
What is permanent partial disability in NC?
Permanent partial disability (PPD) refers to a condition where an employee, after reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI) from a work-related injury, illness or disease, has a lasting disability that is partial in nature.
PPD basically means that the worker has sustained some permanent impairment that affects their ability to perform certain job functions, but they’re not completely disabled.
The compensation for PPD is calculated based on which body part is injured, the severity of the impairment and its impact on the worker’s ability to earn wages in the future.
What is the difference between full disability and partial disability?
Full disability, also known as total disability, implies that the worker is completely unable to perform any work due to their injury or illness. Full disability can be temporary, referred to as temporary total disability (TTD), or permanent, referred to as permanent total disability (PTD).
Compensation for full disability is generally higher as it aims to cover the worker’s entire loss of earning capacity.
Partial disability, on the other hand, includes both temporary partial disability (TPD) and permanent partial disability (PPD). Partial disability indicates that the worker, while impaired, can still perform some work or earn some wages, but not to the extent they could before their injury.
Compensation for partial disability is designed to cover the difference between the worker’s pre-injury and post-injury earnings, reflecting their reduced capacity to earn.
What is the PPD rating in NC?
After reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the stage at which an injury has stabilized and is not expected to further improve with medical treatment, the injured worker undergoes a medical evaluation by an authorized treating physician who assesses the extent of the worker’s permanent impairment and assigns a PPD rating in the form of a percentage.
This PPD rating reflects the severity of the impairment and its impact on the worker’s ability to perform work-related activities, making it crucial in determining the amount of compensation an injured worker will receive under PPD benefits.
Permanent partial disabilities in North Carolina are categorized into 2 types: “scheduled” and “unscheduled” injuries.
- Scheduled injuries refer to impairments of specific body parts that are found in §97-31 of North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Typically, the process of calculating benefits for scheduled injuries is fairly straightforward.
- Unscheduled injuries involve impairments to body parts not listed in the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Examples of unscheduled injuries include injuries that affect the spine or shoulders, which often involve a more complex assessment of the impairment’s effect on the individual’s work capacity.
Who determines a worker’s PPD rating after a work injury?
A PPD rating is determined by a qualified health care professional, typically the authorized treating physician. This doctor evaluates the extent of the worker’s permanent impairment after they’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and assigns a PPD rating based on medical guidelines and their professional assessment of the injury’s impact on the worker’s body and capabilities.
It’s important to note that the PPD rating is subject to the physician’s professional judgment and can be a point of negotiation or dispute in the workers’ compensation claim process. If the worker disagrees with the assigned rating, they may seek a second opinion or challenge the rating through the workers’ compensation claims process.
What is the highest permanent partial disability rating?
The highest permanent partial disability (PPD) rating that can be assigned to an injured worker is typically 100%, which indicates a complete or total loss of use of the injured body part. This rating is equivalent to saying that the body part in question has lost all its functional capabilities as a result of a work-related injury or illness.
How do you calculate permanent partial impairment?
Under PPD in North Carolina, if an employee completely loses the use of a body part, they’re entitled to weekly wage loss benefits amounting to two-thirds of their average weekly wage, subject to the maximum allowable rate, which changes annually.
This compensation is provided for a specific number of weeks depending on which body part is injured, as seen in the chart below. For partial loss of use, the benefits are calculated as a proportion of the total loss compensation.
For example, if a worker has a 20% PPD rating for an injury to their thumb, which is allocated 75 weeks of compensation for complete loss of use, the worker would receive PPD benefits for 20% of those 75 weeks, which is equal to 15 weeks of compensation (at a rate of two-thirds of their average weekly wage).
What is a lump-sum payment for permanent impairment?
A lump-sum payment for permanent impairment is a one-time financial compensation awarded to a worker who has sustained a permanent injury or disability due to a work-related incident, reflecting the severity and long-term impact of their impairment.
The lump-sum payment is calculated using the same impairment rating as above and often involves multiplying the rating percentage by a predetermined value or formula, which factors in the individual’s average wages and potential future earnings impacted by the impairment.
In some cases, the final amount of the lump-sum payment may be the result of negotiations between the injured worker, the employer, and the insurance company. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine the value of your claim and handle negotiations to ensure you get maximum compensation.
Need help filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina?
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, illness or disease in North Carolina, the experienced Charlotte work injury attorneys at Wilder Pantazis Law Group are here to help.
With over 85 years of combined experience, our attorneys have the knowledge and skills you need to recover the compensation you deserve. We know how to gather evidence and negotiate with insurers to ensure you get maximum medical and wage loss benefits after an injury or illness.
Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today to learn how we can help with your claim.
§97-31. Schedule of injuries; rate and period of compensation. (n.d.). Www.ic.nc.gov. https://www.ic.nc.gov/ncic/pages/statute/97-31.htm