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Permanent Disability and Workers’ Compensation
King Law Firm – Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Every year, millions of Americans get injured at work and need to take time away from work. Some of these workers heal and return to work after a few days or weeks. However, some people never fully regain the abilities they had before the work injury. Anyone who is facing this situation should understand the basics of permanent disability laws and hire a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure they get the benefits to which they are entitled under the law.
Defining “Disability” and Other Important Terms
When many people think of the word “disability,” they may bring to mind images of wheelchairs and other accessibility devices. It’s important to note that the word “disability” has a different meaning in the context of workers’ compensation claims. Similarly, other terms have slightly different meanings in workers’ compensation than many people assume.
North Carolina law makes the following distinctions:
- Disability: the incapacity for a person to earn wages that he or she earned before a workplace accident. In legal contexts, this term is used to decide whether someone should receive benefits.
- Permanent disability: this applies when a person has diminished or absent abilities to complete the job they once did, and there is no expectation of recovery. This is more of an administrative term than a medical one.
- Physical impairment: this is a medical term referring to functional or anatomical abnormalities after a person has undergone all medical options to recover.
Types of Disability Benefits in North Carolina
North Carolina law divides disability claims into four categories:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD): when an injured employee is unable to work and is in the healing process.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD): When an injured worker is in the processes of healing and can work some, but not making as much as they would before the injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): When an injured person is no longer healing but is still disabled in some capacity.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD): Much rarer than PPD. This occurs only when people meet strict requirements.
The primary difference between temporary and permanent disability ratings is the expectation or hope of recovery. People may move between these statuses as well. For example, in the immediate aftermath of an accident may be classified as temporary as they take measures to correct any injuries. If it becomes clear that the person may never regain full function, the classification may change to permanent.
How to Calculate Permanent Disability Wages
The calculations for disability payments in workers’ compensation are often complicated. In general, the rate is based on 66.6667% of a person’s average weekly wage. People may get paid weekly or in lump settlements, depending on the situation. The state of North Carolina sets limits on how much workers’ can make through disability, regardless of their previous compensation rates. In general, disability income is not subject to federal or state taxes.
Talk to a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
As you can see, North Carolina disability and workers’ compensation laws can be complex. Sometimes insurance companies and employers make the process even more difficult by throwing up roadblocks for injured workers. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer on your side. Call King Law Firm at (800) 635-1683 or send us an email to schedule your consultation today.
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