Did you suffer a debilitating workplace injury?
We’ll explain your Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) rights under Georgia’s workers’ comp law.
Are you wondering how workers’ compensation works in Athens, Georgia?
When a person hits maximum medical improvement (MMI) following a work-related injury, they are then entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. These benefits are paid to compensate the eligible worker for damage done to a particular body part (like losing a hand, arm or leg).
An injured worker is not eligible to receive money for pain and suffering, unfortunately. However, they can obtain money for their injured body part. The amount of money you could receive is based on a formula along with a medical examination by your authorized treating physician. That doctor will rate your injury and assign a percentage point. This percentage greatly impacts the amount of your award or settlement payment.
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
337 South Milledge Ave, Ste. 209-7
Athens, GA 30605
9:00am – 5:00pm (M-F)
Closed Saturday & Sunday
What is a permanent disability?
A permanent disability means that a person is unable to work in their current job due to either a serious injury or sickness. Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are calculated on a ratings system.
Permanent disability and the payments associated with this type of injury are different than disability retirement benefits. The federal program known as Social Security handles disability retirement benefits, which is NOT a part of the Georgia workers’ compensation system.
Rather, PPD benefits are paid to an injured or maimed worker who has suffered a mental or physical illness. If modern medical science cannot get you any healthier or if you’ve lost a limb and taken all available time to heal and you’re still not close to 100%, then your PPD benefits should kick in.
Georgia worker disability statistics
In 2016, 34.7 percent of Georgians reporting a disability were reported to be employed, with the most common type of disability being hearing impairment (49.8 percent).
Breaking down disability stats by gender shows that a slightly higher percentage of women (12.3 percent) report a disability, while 11.9 percent of men report a disability. Other prevalent types of disability in Georgia were ambulatory (6.9 percent), followed by cognitive (5 percent), hearing (3.1 percent) and visual (2.6 percent), with 8 percent reported as living at a self-care facility or independent living center.
Perhaps. The total of your workers’ compensation benefits and your Social Security Disability benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average monthly or current earnings. Usually, when your workers’ compensation case is settled, the documentation of the settlement agreement can be drawn so as to recoup a large portion of this lost offset.
Types of permanent disability in the workplace
Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws recognize 2 types of permanent disabilities: permanent total disability (PTD) and permanent partial disability (PPD). Here’s an explanation of the main differences between these 2 designations:
- Permanent partial disability. This is when a person’s wage-earning ability has been permanently lost. For people in this category, there are 2 kinds of benefits: scheduled loss of use and non-scheduled loss. For scheduled losses, compensation is fixed by law to a specific number of weeks, depending on the body part. For non-scheduled losses, the benefits are based on the person’s loss of earning capacity.
- Permanent total disability. This is when a person’s wage-earning ability is completely lost due to the injury. To qualify, a person must prove that their injuries are debilitating. If you are awarded the designation of permanent total disability, you can expect to get a check twice per month for roughly two-thirds of your income for the rest of your life.
If you believe you may have suffered a disabling injury while working in Athens, it’s important to have a knowledgeable legal expert explaining your options and working on your behalf. Getting approval for any type of disability designation is challenging. There are a variety of government-mandated hoops to jump through. Our qualified attorneys can help make the process smoother, even if your appeal is denied.
Examples of permanent disability work injuries
Permanent partial disabilities can be the result of a work-related injury or an occupational disease. Below is a partial list of common injuries experienced by Athens workers that generally allow them to receive some type of permanent disability benefit:
- Complete loss or loss of functionality of an arm or elbow
- Complete loss or loss of functionality of a hand, thumb or finger
- Complete loss or loss of functionality of a leg or knee
- Complete loss or loss of functionality of a foot or toe
- Loss of hearing in one or both ears
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes
- Loss of functionality within the body as a whole (neck, back or multiple body parts at once)
How are permanent disability benefits calculated in Georgia?
Many people ask us how permanent disability benefits are calculated. Nationwide, PPD claims are one of the most common types of workers’ compensation cases, accounting for over half of all claims. Payment for PPD benefits is granted only when no total temporary disability (TTD) or total partial disability (TPD) payments are being awarded.
In other words, you cannot receive TTD or TPD benefits while also receiving PPD benefits.
Weekly checks for PPD benefits will equal roughly two-thirds of your average weekly wage (up to a maximum of $675 if you were injured on or after July 1, 2019). An insurance company can opt to pay these benefits weekly or in one lump sum.
PPD benefits are calculated by multiplying the percentage of your impairment rating (given by your authorized doctor) by the number of weeks allowed under the law, depending on the type of injury that you have.
Understanding Georgia’s permanent impairment rating system
In Georgia, partial permanent disability benefits are determined by multiplying the rating of the injured body part by the person’s average weekly wage. This determines the full benefits you could expect.
A treating physician is required by law to use a book called Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th Edition) to conclude what your disability rating is based on the value of each body part.
The guide helps doctors determine a permanent partial disability rating for a specific body part (like a hand, finger, foot, etc.) and the area of the body (lower extremity, upper extremity, etc.) — or, in severe cases, the “body as a whole.”
Georgia permanent partial disability (PPD) chart
|Body part||Weeks of compensation (rating)|
|Upper extremity (arm, elbow, etc.)||225|
|Lower extremity (leg, knee, etc.)||225|
|Any other toe||20|
|Loss of hearing, one ear||75|
|Loss of vision||150|
|Whole body (neck, back, multiple body parts at once)||300|
What to do if you’re seriously hurt on the job
If you think you have suffered a serious and debilitating workplace injury, it’s important to follow the following steps:
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Notify your supervisor or manager as soon as possible. (Injured workers who fail to report a work-related injury within 30 days could lose their right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.)
- Consult a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer near you for legal advice.
- File your workers’ compensation claim by submitting the necessary paperwork.
- Visit your employer’s approved doctor for any follow-up treatment.
- Attend all doctor’s visits and physical therapy.
- Don’t post much to social media while you’re on the mend.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Our Athens workers’ compensation lawyers can fight for your PPD benefits
Were you seriously hurt at work and need help securing your disability benefits?
Reach out to schedule your free consultation today to speak with our experienced Athens work injury attorneys. We can fight for the maximum permanent partial disability rating and help secure all potential benefits owed to you following your workplace injury.
A work injury doesn’t have to severely limit your career or life. Let us make sure that you get all the care and assistance available. Don’t hesitate to find out if you have a case, and learn what is involved in filing a workers’ compensation disability claim. There’s no need to suffer silently anymore. Come out of the shadows and talk with us today.