For the purpose of calculating workers comp benefits, permanent work-related disabilities are classified into two: total and partial. In this post, we’ll talk about the latter.
Since workers comp laws vary per state, permanent partial disability settlement amounts also tend to vary across the country. In Florida, the average settlement for permanent partial disability can range from $19,700 to $38,100 based on data from the last ten years.
To determine how much PPD settlement you should get, you first need to understand what it is and how it’s calculated.
What is Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)?
A permanent partial disability is when an injured worker suffered a permanent impairment but can still work. Albeit, not as efficiently and effectively as before their injury.
In workers’ compensation, a disability can only be considered permanent if:
- further improvement is not anymore possible with the currently available medical treatments
- the condition requires palliative treatment
- the physical or mental impairment reduces a person’s physical and mental efficiency and prevents them from doing the things they normally do
For instance, a worker hurt his back while doing his job. After recovering, he went back to work but his back injury prevents him from lifting heavy objects permanently. As a result, he can’t go back to the kind of work he used to do and had to settle for a much lighter workload at a much lesser payrate.
Because his condition is permanent in nature and caused him to lose a portion of his regular income, he could be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits.
Examples of PPD
Permanent partial disabilities are pretty common in workers’ compensation cases. This includes injuries like:
- hearing loss
- blindness in one eye
- back injuries
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- partial paralysis (paresis)
- loss of hearing
In some cases, psychological issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), clinical depression, and bipolar disorder may also fall under PPD.
How is PPD Settlement Calculated in Florida?
Like most states, Florida uses a permanent impairment rating system to determine PPD benefits and settlement. However, you can only get an impairment rating after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the stage where your medical condition is unlikely to get any better.
At the start of your injury, you’ll receive temporary disability benefits equivalent to 66 ⅔% of your average weekly wage. This will last until you reach MMI but shall not exceed 104 weeks.
Upon reaching MMI, your doctor will assess your condition to determine your degree of impairment. They will then assign you an impairment rating based on Florida’s Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule. Your permanent impairment rating (PIR) will then become the basis of your permanent partial disability settlement amount.
To calculate how much settlement you’re entitled to, PIR ratings are divided into four tiers:
- 1-10% – Two Weeks Per Percentage Point
- 11-15% – Three Weeks Per Percentage Point
- 16-20% – Four Weeks Per Percentage Point
- 21-100% – Six Weeks Per Percentage Point
For instance, let’s say your doctor gave you a 20% permanent impairment rating. Based on the schedule above, you are entitled to 55 weeks of impairment benefits (10% x 2 weeks + 5% x 3 weeks + 5% x 4 weeks).
Permanent impairment benefits are paid at 75% of your weekly temporary disability benefits. So if your average weekly wage from before the injury is $1,000, your weekly temporary disability benefits is $666.6667 ($1,0000 x 66 ⅔% or 0.66667). This means that your permanent impairment benefits will be $500.02 ($666.6667 x 75%) per week.
From there, you just multiple your weekly impairment benefits with the number of weeks you are entitled to those benefits. From the example above, your permanent partial disability settlement will be $27,501.10 ($500.02 x 55 weeks).
However, if you go back to work and are earning equal to or more than your pre-injury wage, your impairment benefits will be reduced by 50%. Taking from the example above, your weekly impairment benefits will be reduced to $250.01 ($500.02 x 50%). This means that your total settlement will only be $13,750.55 ($250.01 x 55 weeks).
If all these calculations are giving you a headache, you can also use the state’s impairment income benefit calculator.
According to Florida statutes, you should receive your impairment benefits within 14 days after your insurance carrier is notified of your impairment rating.
Can You Challenge Your Impairment Rating?
Though impairment ratings are based on a state-prescribed uniform guidelines, you have the right to challenge it if you don’t agree with your rating.
The first thing you need to do is to contact the claims administrator to explain why you think your rating is incorrect. If that doesn’t work, you can take your case to court and have a workers compensation judge decide on your impairment rating.
But challenging your impairment rating will be much easier if you have an experienced workers compensation attorney like Victor Malca. With almost three decades of experience, he already knows the ins and outs of the workers compensation system like the back of his hand. He has already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida fight for their rights. He can help you get the benefits you rightfully deserve too. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.