Learn how PPD benefits are calculated in Georgia
workers’ compensation cases
How much money is my injury worth?
Under Georgia workers’ compensation law, when an individual reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI) after work-related injury, they’re entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. PPD basically means the injured worker is eligible to receive compensation for the damage done to a particular body part.
According to Georgia statute O.C.G.A. 34-9-263, “permanent partial disability” means:
“disability partial in character but permanent in quality resulting from loss or loss of use of body members or from the partial loss of use of the employee’s body.”
While an injured worker cannot receive pain and suffering under the workers’ compensation statute, they can obtain money for their injured body part. The amount of money you are entitled to is based on a formula. Your authorized treating physician decides what the rating is for your on-the-job injury. This is often a point of contention because it’s a subjective rating and, as we’ll discuss below, every percentage point affects the size of your settlement or award.The experienced attorneys at Gerber & Holder can help you fight for your rating and ensure you get the maximum compensation possible for your work-related injury.
How to calculate your
The PPD formula is determined by multiplying the rating of the body part injured by your average weekly wage to determine the full benefits owed to you.
Georgia law requires your treating physician to use a book called the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th edition), which is published by the American Medical Association, to determine your disability rating based on the value of each body part.
Using this guide, the doctor will assign a permanent partial disability rating to a specific body part (finger, hand, etc.) area (upper extremity, lower extremity, etc.) or to the “body as a whole.”
Georgia permanent partial disability (PPD) chart
|Bodily loss||Maximum weeks||Total|
|Any other toe||20||$14,750|
Here’s an example of how calculating your PPD benefits in Georgia works:
A worker who earns $15 per hour and works an average of 40 hours per week hurts their back at work. The authorized treating physician assigned a 10% rating to the body as a whole after the injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement.
The worker’s average weekly wage is $600, and therefore their workers’ compensation would be ⅔ of their weekly wage, or $400. The rating on the back is 300 weeks because it’s determined to be part of the whole body. The rating of 300 is multiplied by the ⅔ weekly wage of $400, for a total of $120,000.
However, since the physician assigned a rating of 10%, the worker’s attorney would then multiply that by 10% for a total payment of $12,000. This payment can be made in a lump sum or paid out weekly at the rate of $400 for 30 weeks.
Questions & answers on evaluating permanent partial disability
Which body part has the highest value in a workers’ comp claim?
The most valuable body parts in a workers’ compensation claim are the back and neck.
According to Georgia law, a back/neck disability sustained in a workers’ compensation accident could be worth up to 300 weeks of PPD benefits. It can lead to up to $217,500 in compensation. If a worker has a permanent injury to the spine that causes chronic pain, it may be possible for them to receive additional compensation.
How much is a broken toe worth?
In Georgia, the maximum compensation for a broken big toe is 30 weeks of PPD benefits, which amounts to $21,750. For a small toe, the maximum compensation is 20 weeks, which amounts to $14,750. The compensation amount will vary depending on the nature of the injury.
How much is the loss of an eye worth?
In Georgia, the maximum PPD rating for the loss of vision in 1 eye is 150 weeks. If the physician rates the loss of vision 100%, then the maximum compensation amount will be $108,750.
How much is the loss of a finger worth?
According to the Georgia law about PPD ratings, the loss of the index finger is worth 40 weeks of PPD benefits. If the authorized physician assigns a rating of 100% to the injury, the compensation amount will be $29,000.
Similarly, the loss of the middle finger is worth 35 weeks of PPD benefits. If the authorized physician assigns a rating of 100% to this injury, the compensation amount will be $25,375.
The loss of the ring finger and little finger is worth 30 and 20 weeks of PPD benefits, respectively. If the authorized physician assigns a rating of 100% to these injuries, the compensation amount will be $21,750 and $14,500.
How much is the loss of an arm or a leg worth?
Georgia law states that if a person loses an arm or a leg, they will be given 225 weeks of PPD benefits. If they were to get a 100% PPD rating, then they would get approximately $163,125.
What type of work injuries cause the most absences from work?
A 2020 study by the National Safety Council (NSC) found that the top 3 causes of work absences in the U.S. stemmed from exposure to harmful substances or environments (31.6%), overexertion and bodily reaction (21.7%), and falls, slips and trips (18%).
Additionally, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the longest absences from work are caused by repetitive motions, such as hammering, typing and scanning groceries.
When to hire a Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer
Georgia law allows employers to wait to start paying you PPD benefits until you stop receiving temporary total (TTD) and temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. Once you stop receiving TTD or TPD benefits, your employer must start paying PPD benefits within 21 days. If your employer fails to meet this requirement, you should consult an attorney.
It’s also important to note that Georgia is NOT a maximum medical improvement state. This means that even if the doctor says you’ve reached MMI, you will continue to receive indemnity weekly benefits if you’re eligible and already receiving them.
If your employer refuses to start paying PPD benefits or you’d like to contest an incorrect permanent partial disability rating, then you’ll need to request a workers’ compensation hearing. Before you do, we urge your to contact our experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers to calculate your PPD benefits and learn about your options.