Workers’ Compensation for Permanent Total Disability
Pennsylvania Provides Lifetime Disability Benefits
Most Pennsylvania employees are eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits for their work-related injuries. Under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers may receive payment for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with their workplace injuries.
Those who are permanently disabled may be able to collect additional benefits, including a lifetime pension, through their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance.
Lifetime Pension Under Workers’ Compensation
The laws for workers’ compensation vary by state. However, workers who are permanently and totally disabled due to their workplace injuries will generally qualify for a lifetime pension under the state’s workers’ compensation system if they can show that their injury or illness has left them permanently and totally disabled.
What is a Permanent Total Disability?
In Pennsylvania, a permanent total disability is one that leaves an employee unable to return to gainful employment of any kind. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, a total disability is an injury that results in a total loss of earning power/wages.
An independent medical examination (IME) doctor chosen by the employer’s insurance company will determine whether the employee is partially or totally disabled and what type of work, if any, they will be able to perform. Those deemed to be less than 35 percent impaired have a partial disability, and those who are deemed 35 percent impaired or more have a total disability.
Workers who have missed work for a certain number of weeks may be required to submit to an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). Upon the employer’s request, an IME doctor will re-evaluate the worker’s condition to see if it can be reduced to a partial disability. The reason for this is because workers with total disabilities may collect more compensation, for a longer duration, than those with partial disabilities.
How Much Can Workers Collect for a Work-Related Disability?
The amount and duration of workers’ compensation benefits depend on several factors, including the type and severity of the worker’s injury. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your legal options based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Generally, those with work-related disabilities may be eligible for any of the following types of benefits:
Temporary Total Disability: Those who are unable to return to work due to their injuries will be classified as having a temporary total disability and will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage up to a cap set by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
These payments will continue for up to 104 weeks, at which point, the workers’ compensation insurer may require the worker to undergo an IRE for re-evaluation.
Temporary Partial Disability: Workers who are unable to return to the jobs they had before their injury, but are still able to do some work, may qualify for temporary partial disability. This amounts to two-thirds of the difference between what they earned at their job pre-injury and what they are currently earning at their new job.
Permanent Partial Disability: If the workers’ compensation doctor determines that a worker has a partial disability, the worker may receive two-thirds of the difference between their current and pre-injury wages. These payments will continue for a maximum of 500 weeks.
Permanent Total Disability: When the doctor determines that the employee’s condition no longer has the potential to improve, then the worker is considered to be permanently and totally disabled.
Workers who are deemed to have a permanent total disability will receive two-thirds of their average weekly salary at the time of the injury, (up to a state maximum) unless the employee is also receiving Social Security disability benefits. In that case, the total amount of both benefits may not exceed 80 percent of their average pre-injury earnings.
Specific Loss Benefits: Workers who suffer severe injuries, such as facial disfigurement or amputations, may be eligible for additional specific loss benefits. This consists of lump sum or weekly payments, the amount and duration of which depends on the type of body part affected.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Help Workers Obtain Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Your employer may offer you a lump sum settlement to close your workers’ compensation claim. Whether you should accept depends on several factors, including whether you will need continuing medical treatment and whether you are prepared to go to trial. To discuss your case, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.
We proudly represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of Abington, Ambler, Ardmore, Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Clifton Heights, Crum Lynne, Darby, Downingtown, Doylestown, Drexel Hill, Essington, Folcroft, Glenolden, Haverford, Havertown, Holmes, Kutztown, Lansdowne, Media, Merion Station, Morton, Narberth, Norristown, Norwood, Philadelphia, Prospect Park, Quakertown, Reading, Roxborough, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, West Chester and Wynnewood.