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When Does Partial Disability Become Total Disability

Terri January Week 1 - IMG - Disability

Some work-related injuries are relatively minor: they require medical attention, perhaps some rehabilitation, and maybe some time off of work for follow-up appointments. But there are also much more serious injuries that make it impossible for the injured worker to return to their job, whether temporarily or permanently. Though all injured workers are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, as well as for lost wages, there are different classifications, definitions and limitations placed on injured Pennsylvania workers. At the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law, we are dedicated to making sure that you have you of the information that you need so that you can get the compensation that you deserve.

  • Temporary partial disability – These benefits are for workers who are able to do modified or light duty work, and provide compensation until the worker is able to return to their original position as determined by a physician chosen by the employer or their insurance company. The worker may be assigned to a lower paying job, in which case they are able to receive compensation of two thirds of the difference in pay.
  • Temporary total disability – These benefits are for those who are more seriously injured, and are unable to work as a result of their injury and who a physician has determined is a minimum of 50 percent impaired as a result of their injury and disability. The benefits are available for an extended period of time, but have a maximum duration of 500 weeks. After 104 weeks, the employer can require the injured worker to submit to a medical examination to determine whether they are still at least 50 percent impaired. If they have fallen below the 50 percent threshold, they then return to a partial disability status.
  • Permanent total disability – When a worker is determined to be more than 50 percent disabled and deemed unable to return to any type of employment, they may qualify for permanent total disability, which provides payments for as long as they are considered unable to work. These payments may be offered as either a lump sum or in weekly payments.

In addition to these benefits, there are specific loss benefits available for those who have suffered particular injuries that lead to the loss of use of a body part. These benefits are strictly prescribed based upon the loss that is suffered. There are also benefits for loss of hearing, loss of a finger in a work-related accident, scars and marks to the head, face and neck above the collarbone, and more. You do not have to be kept from work by these losses to qualify for the benefit.

Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation disability benefits can be difficult to understand and the system can be a challenge to navigate. If you need answers regarding what you are entitled to, contact the experienced workers’ compensation law firm of Vanasse Law today.