Being injured can impact your life in a number of ways, including your ability to work and support yourself. If you are hurt while on the job and your injury limits your ability to perform your job duties in some way, you are considered to have been “disabled,” which makes you entitled to additional benefits, such as medical treatments and replacement income for your missed work. Disability comes in two forms: temporary and permanent; the differences between these two will radically change the way your case will proceed and what benefits you are eligible for. Let’s take a closer look at these important differences now.
Temporary disability is awarded when doctors who are evaluating and treating you believe that you will eventually fully recover and regain your ability to work uninhibited. However, it could take some considerable time and serious treatment to do so. Therefore, while you are recovering, you will be granted temporary disability and be entitled to certain benefits. You are eligible to receive temporary disability benefits if your condition causes you to miss work for more than three calendar days, and you may even be eligible to receive them if you are injured in a non-work-related accident.
The process for applying for temporary benefits is complex, and you will need to gather a substantial amount of paperwork and evidence from both the accident and from your physician to qualify. It’s strongly advised you speak with a Stuart workers’ compensation lawyer about your condition to find out what you need to obtain in order to support your claim as well as a strategy for pursuing the best possible outcome.
Permanent disability is the term used to describe a condition that will not improve in the future with any reasonable treatment. This means that you cannot be expected to work in the same gainful manner as you did before your injury without pain or having your abilities in habited by your condition.
There are two types of permanent disability: partial and total. Permanent partial disability means you have lost some of the use of one of your body parts, such as a hand, arm, foot, leg, knee, elbow, ear, eye, and several others. When this is the case, you still might have the ability to work, but you may not be able to return to the same position you held before your accident. Permanent total disability means you have totally lost the ability to use one or more of these parts, and are now unable to work to support yourself in any substantially gainful fashion. Those who suffer permanent total disability as a result of their employment may be eligible to receive potentially life-long benefits.
Because these claims can be tremendously expensive for insurers and employers, it’s extremely common for them to object to these evaluations and attempt to downplay your injury in an effort to save money. Don’t be surprised if you face resistance from those responsible for footing the bill for your treatment if you are declared permanently and totally disabled.
Figuring out whether or not you are disabled after an injury can take a while. Everyone reacts to treatment differently, and while some people may be able to make a full recovery from their condition, others may not. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for some people to receive temporary disability benefits in the short term while they are recovering, provided their condition is regularly evaluated by a doctor.
If a doctor believes you will make a full recovery, you will be expected to return to work. However, if you are unable to make a full recovery, or your recovery comes to a halt at a certain point, you will have reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement” for your condition, and your doctor will assign you a type of disability, including a percentage if your condition is partial. This assignment is extremely important for your life going forward, as it will influence what kind of benefits you will be eligible for, and how long you are eligible to receive them. You are entitled to a second opinion if you think different treatment can help you improve further, or if you think your condition has not been evaluated properly.
You should also review your options with a lawyer as soon as possible when you reach the point of maximum medical improvement in order to make sure you receive the care and treatment you need to live as comfortable as possible in the future.
Want to find out more about temporary and permanent disability? Have you been seriously injured while at work? Call Lauri J. Goldstien & Associates, PLLC today at 866-675-4427 for a free consultation!