Being hurt on the job is a significant and stress-inducing life experience that regrettably happens to many workers. A job-related injury or illness, no matter how severe, can have both short-term and long-term effects on the individual’s ability to return to work, engage in regular physical and leisure activity, and enjoy normal daily life. Most workers who are injured or sickened due to their job duties are covered through Workers’ Compensation benefits, which provides a percentage of lost wages and the costs of needed medical treatment. Many workers, however, may not know that they can also be entitled to additional benefits if they suffer a permanent medical condition as a consequence of the work incident.
Permanent partial disability is a benefit designed to compensate those who have been hurt or developed a disease on the job and have been unable to fully recover from their condition. If you were injured on the job and are not fully recovered, despite medical treatment, it is important to be aware of the benefits available through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI is a federal program of the Social Security Administration designed to provide benefits for permanent disability.
When injured or sickened on the job, the employee’s first step is to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation through their employer. Workers’ Compensation covers, with few exceptions, those who demonstrate that their injury or disease happened as a result of their workplace duties. Workers’ Compensation, once approved, can cover immediate care, surgery, medication, physical and occupational rehabilitation, or other needed treatments. It also will pay a percentage of the worker’s wages for the time they are unable to return to work.
When an employee undergoes treatment, but is unable to fully recover, filing a claim for SSDI is a potential next step. Under Workers’ Compensation, the injured worker must have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This does not mean that they have fully returned to their pre-injury physical condition, but that they are medically unlikely to improve further despite medical care. In this situation, the worker may need to file a claim for permanent partial disability.
Filing for permanent partial disability is a complex process that involves many factors. Certain physical conditions automatically qualify, such as amputation of a limb, vision or hearing loss, and other medical conditions. The SSDI uses a medical guide that lists specific medical criteria in determining a person’s eligibility for permanent partial or total disability. Solid medical documentation of the illness or injury is important to successfully win a claim for permanent partial disability. Because of the complexity of the laws, it is strongly advised to work with a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can best advise you on your rights.
If you or a loved one was injured or suffered an illness on the job, the Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP are here to help secure the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 267-589-0090 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.