Permanent Disability Claims Attorney in Vermont
Trust a Proven Attorney in Vermont at the Law Office of Charles L. Powell PLLC
If you have a permanent injury from an incident at work, you may be eligible for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) or Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits.
If you are unsure if you qualify for PPD or PTD, then consult with the Law Office of Charles L. Powell today. We have more than 33 years of experience and have represented clients in claims against workers’ compensation insurers such as Hartford Insurance, Travelers Insurance, Liberty Mutual and others.
Get an advocate by your side during this difficult time. Call us at (802) 731-0154
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We are licensed in Vermont and Pennsylvania.
Understanding Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
The goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide adequate support for healing, recovery and return to work. However, some injuries could leave you physically unable to do all the things you did before. This is when you should be evaluated for Permanent Partial Disability benefits.
Here are some examples of signs of a Permanent Partial Disability:
- You can work but you have permanent restrictions
- You don’t have full range of motion
- You had surgery or amputation
- You have chronic pain
If your injury qualifies under the American Medical Association Guidebook, this benefit (called “Permanent Partial Disability benefits”) pays additional weekly checks depending on the amount of permanent change. How many additional weeks? The Vermont Department of Labor uses a formula. For impairment from an injury to the spine, the formula is multiplying 550 weeks x the % of permanent change; so, for example if the doctor rates the permanent change as 10% of the body, that formula is applied by 550 weeks x 10% = 55 weeks of checks. Then you apply your weekly compensate rate. If your weekly compensation rate is $450.00/wk., then $450.00/wk. x 55 weeks = $24,750.00 to be paid in Permanent Partial Disability benefits. (For injuries not of the spine, it is the same formula but using 405 weeks not 550).
The first step is a complete evaluation by your doctor, who will rate your disability for workers’ compensation. There are often disputes over the evaluation of the permanent partial disability. A Vermont disability lawyer is well-versed in preparing the proper documentation and evidence needed to demonstrate Permanent Partial Disability.
Understanding Permanent Total Disability
If your injury has permanently, totally prevented you from returning to regular, paid employment, weekly disability check payments to you continue indefinitely, for the rest of your life (called “Permanent Total Disability benefits”) – and the first 330 weeks’ worth of checks can be paid up front.
Proof of eligibility
Proof of eligibility for Permanent Total Disability benefits requires either:
- a showing of a specific type of injury -- There are 6 types of injury which automatically qualify a person for Permanent Total Disability: (1) blindness in both eyes; (2) loss of both feet; (3) loss of both hands; (4) loss of one hand and one foot; (5) spine injury resulting in paralysis of both legs or both arms or one leg and one arm; (6) skull injury resulting in severe traumatic brain injury with severe cognitive, psychological or psychiatric disability.
- or a showing that the injury is like one of the 6 types -- Even if the employee’s injury is not one of these 6, it is still possible to prove eligibility for Permanent Total Disability benefits if the injury is having just as severe an impact on employability. This can be proven by means of a test called Functional Capacity Evaluation, an exam by an occupational therapist to assess whether there is any safe and enduring physical ability of the body to perform duties for an employer. This also can be proven by means of a vocational rehabilitation expert to assess the injured employee ’s limitations from the work injury, together with other challenges such as the injured employee’s age, experience, training, education and mental capacity and determine whether the employee is permanently, totally prevented from returning to regular, paid employment.
Becoming disabled after an injury in the workplace is traumatic enough, not to mention dealing with your employer and its insurance company. Most claims for Permanent Total Disability are resisted by the workers’ compensation insurer.
A Vermont disability attorney can assist clients in seeking Permanent Total Disability benefits.
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