When a work-related injury sidelines you, the outcome of the incident can vary according to the extent of your injuries. In most cases, you can take some time off of work and then return when the doctor clears you. In other cases, your injury is so severe that you cannot work at any job again and are ruled to be 100% disabled. There is a middle ground, however, where you can still work and where you are still entitled to some workers' comp benefits. Read on to learn more.
How a Permanent Partial Disability is Determined
You will be asked to participate in an examination that is meant to label your injury. This exam, known as an independent medical exam (IME) involves a doctor's examination and an evaluation of your medical condition as it relates to your former job. If you are determined to be unable to return to your former job, you may be permanently disabled. The determine sets forth not only a disability determination, but a degree of disability as well. Many workers are found to be at least partially disabled but not totally disabled. This determination is known as maximum medical improvement.
What is a Partial Disability?
There is more than one factor at play in the evaluation of a medical disability and a great deal depends on the type of work you were doing before your injury. If you are able to return to your job, you must do so. The workers' comp carrier will ask you to return to your job if you can still perform the tasks of your job. For example, if you worked at a desk job before you slipped and hurt your back while on the assembly room floor, you may still be able to perform the same work as you did before. You may be allowed some work modifications, such as a special desk, more breaks, light duty, part-time, and other job accommodations.
If your injury makes it impossible for you to return to your previous job, you may still be able to work at a different job. In most cases, you are offered job training and assistance finding another job that you are able to do given your partial disability. For example, if your previous job was driving a truck and a leg injury has made it impossible for you to return to that job, you may be trained to do desk work instead. When your hours are reduced or your salary is not on par with your previous job, the workers' comp insurance will offer you a lump sum settlement to make up for the loss of income.
If you are being asked to return to a job that you are unable to do or you are at risk of losing income due to a work-related permanent injury, speak to a workers compensation defense lawyer at once.