When your doctor gives you an impairment rating you’re entitled to start drawing permanent partial disability benefits. This is a weekly check that is meant to compensate you for the permanent damage that was done your body because of the workplace accident. The amount of weekly checks you received depend on the impairment rating given to you by your doctor.
In Georgia, workers' compensation is a vital resource for employees who suffer from work-related injuries or illnesses. One of the benefits available to eligible employees is Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits. This guide will provide an overview of PPD benefits in Georgia, eligibility criteria, how to file a claim, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are a form of workers' compensation available to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness that has resulted in a permanent impairment, but who are still able to work in some capacity. PPD benefits are designed to compensate injured workers for the loss of earning capacity resulting from their injury or illness.
To be eligible for PPD benefits in Georgia, an employee must meet the following criteria:
Filing a PPD claim in Georgia involves the following steps:
Q: How are PPD benefits calculated in Georgia?
A: PPD benefits in Georgia are calculated using the disability rating assigned by the authorized physician, the injured worker's average weekly wage, and the number of weeks assigned to the specific body part in the Georgia workers' compensation statute. The weekly PPD benefit amount is two-thirds of the injured worker's average weekly wage, but cannot exceed the state's maximum PPD rate.
Q: How long do PPD benefits last?
A: The duration of PPD benefits depends on the injured worker's disability rating and the number of weeks assigned to the specific body part in the Georgia workers' compensation statute. For example, if an employee has a 20% impairment rating for a leg injury, and the leg is assigned 225 weeks, the employee would receive PPD benefits for 45 weeks (20% of 225 weeks).
Q: Can I receive PPD benefits if I am also receiving Social Security Disability
A: Yes, you can receive both PPD benefits and Social Security Disability benefits; however, the total amount of benefits you receive may be subject to a reduction to prevent an overpayment.
Q: What if my PPD claim is denied or I disagree with the benefit amount?
A: If your claim is denied or you disagree with the benefit amount, you have the right to request a hearing before the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation. You may also consider hiring a workers' compensation attorney to help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Q: Can I return to work while receiving PPD benefits?
A: Yes, you can return to work while receiving PPD benefits if your authorized physician has cleared you to work with restrictions or in a limited capacity. However, if you start earning more than your pre-injury average weekly wage, your PPD benefits may be reduced or terminated. It's important to communicate with your employer and insurance carrier about any changes in your work status or income.
The impairment rating is supposed to be determined based on the American Medical Association’s guidelines with evaluation of permanent impairment, fifth edition. But this is still a subjective process. Often there are a range of possible ratings that your doctor can give you. Some doctors only give impairment ratings on the lower end of the range, because they know it will save money for the insurance company.
Impairment ratings are assigned by authorized physicians based on the American Medical Association's (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. These ratings help determine the severity of an injury and its impact on the injured worker's ability to function. The following are some examples of possible impairment ratings and injuries under Georgia workers' compensation laws:
(Disclaimer: These are just ballbark estimates for educational purposes. Your rating could be higher or lower depending on the unique facts of your case and your specific injury.)
Back injuries are common in workers' compensation claims and can range from minor strains to severe spinal injuries. Examples of back injuries and potential impairment ratings include:
Upper extremity injuries can involve the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, or hand. Examples of upper extremity injuries and potential impairment ratings include:
Lower extremity injuries can involve the hip, thigh, knee, leg, ankle, or foot. Examples of lower extremity injuries and potential impairment ratings include:
Head and brain injuries can have a significant impact on an individual's cognitive and physical abilities. Examples of head and brain injuries and potential impairment ratings include:
Understanding Permanent Partial Disability benefits under Georgia workers' compensation laws is crucial for employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness. By knowing the eligibility criteria, the claims process, and your rights, you can better navigate the system and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to. If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to consult with a workers' compensation attorney to help protect your rights and interests.
The doctor that you choose to treat your injury is important. You should speak to an attorney as soon as possible in your worker’s compensation case, so that they can help you get to the best doctors available.
If you are unhappy with the rating you are given, you have a right to get a second opinion from a doctor of your choice and the insurance company has to pay for it.
If you’ve been given an impairment rating that are unfair or too low, you do have a right to challenge the impairment rating by filing a hearing request with the State Board of Worker’s Compensation.Back to workers' comp articles
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