Workers’ compensation is a vital resource for those who have sustained injuries or illnesses on the job. Understanding your entitlements, after both temporary and permanent injuries, can be integral in navigating this often-complex system.
Before discussing permanent disabilities, it can be helpful to first comprehend what temporary disability is within the workers’ compensation system in D.C.
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) is a form of benefits offered in worker’s compensation claims. This applies when an individual temporarily can’t perform their job due to an injury or illness that occurred at work. It could be anything that temporarily hinders one’s ability to fulfill their regular duties – think broken limbs, severe burns, or mental health issues like anxiety and depression resulting from workplace incidents.
This kind of disability will primarily be considered “temporary” while the injured worker receives necessary treatments with the goal of improving their condition up until maximum medical improvement has been reached.
After this, any remaining impairments would potentially qualify as permanent disabilities which opens another avenue for further legal possibilities.
Permanent Partial Disability In Workers’ Comp Claims
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are available under DC workers’ compensation claims for those whose injury or illness has resulted in a permanent disability that is not total. In other words, this applies when an individual can still work but their ability to perform certain tasks has been impacted permanently.
A claimant will receive compensation based on the specific type and severity of the impairment outlined under the state’s schedule of injuries. A lump sum payment will be distributed according to this schedule reflective of the total degree of disability endured.
PPD Benefits also entitle claimants to access funds for ongoing medical needs consequential from their workplace incident. This is significant in ensuring all necessary and related care services are readily accessible without causing financial strain.
In addition, workers’ compensation also provides lump sum payments for any injuries sustained moving forward from the time of the incident – meaning that if your situation worsens or additional issues occur due to original conditions, you have potential avenues for obtaining supplementary compensation.
Permanent Total Disability
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) applies when a worker becomes completely and permanently unable to work due to their injuries or has lost two appendages.
In these cases, the individuals suffer from a disability that entirely prohibits them from earning any wages now or in the foreseeable future. This represents an inability to perform any type of gainful employment rather than just being unable to do their previous job.
Under PTD workers’ compensation benefits, employees are often entitled to receive payments equaling 66 2/3 % of their average weekly wage at the time of injury – providing some level of financial stability for those who can no longer earn as before.
Common Work Injuries That Lead to Permanent Disability
Workplace injuries can unfortunately result in not just temporary setbacks but also permanent disabilities. Common types of workplace injuries that often lead to this include:
Neck, Knee, and Shoulder Injuries: These are typically the most frequent causes contributing to permanent disability claims because these body parts are heavily utilized in many mechanical jobs and are susceptible to wear-and-tear.
Back Injuries: Chronic back pain or specific incidents leading to fractures or other serious spinal conditions can often cause long-term damage resulting in a continuous struggle with daily activities – opening up potential for permanent disability claims too.
Limited Range of Motion Injuries: Damage to joints or extremities that results in a limited range of motion often leads to permanent disabilities. Once full mobility has been impaired by an injury, it’s likely the individual may not be able to make a complete recovery or regain total functional capabilities as before.
Such injuries could significantly affect productivity levels and job performance capacity, especially for those whose roles involve intensive physical labor – making them potential candidates for permanent disability claims under workers’ compensation regulations.
You Can Choose Your Own Doctor
Workers suffering from job-related illnesses or injuries have the privilege to select their own attending physician for any necessary medical treatment. It’s essential to remember that these health services should be provided without cost, as employers or insurance carriers are obligated under workers’ compensation laws to cover required care.
It’s important to note that after a doctor is chosen by the employee, any change in medical provider for related care would require prior authorization.
“You may choose your own physician. If you are unconscious or badly injured and your employer sends you to a doctor or emergency room, you may still choose your own doctor after you are released. Once you choose a treating physician you may not change the physician unless you get approval from your employer’s insurance company or the Office of Workers’ Compensation.”
Understanding What Medical Treatment is Covered
Medical treatment encompasses a broad range of services and supplies to ensure proper care, rehabilitation, and recovery for those dealing with job-related injuries or illness.
These services can include traditional medical practices like surgical interventions or hospital care associated with treating the injury. This extends to prescribed medications needed in your treatment process as well as imaging tests like x-rays used in diagnosis and follow-up assessments. Also, supportive devices should be covered, like braces for support during recovery stages.
If Claim is Denied, You Have The Right to Appeal
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, it’s crucial to remember that you maintain the right to appeal this decision. You will typically receive an official denial letter (often referred to as DCWC Form 11) providing details about why your claim was not approved.
You have the option of appealing through two avenues: either informally or via a formal hearing – but these can’t be done concurrently. It’s essential to review which pathway may work best for you and discuss with a legal professional.
It should be pointed out, however, while an appeal is in progress no benefits are payable until a final decision has been made by the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC).
If you have any questions about your legal options following a disability or any type of workers’ comp claim, our Washington D.C. workers’ compensation attorney is here to help. Contact us or call (831)-708-0298 to schedule a free consultation.