Learn how PPD benefits are calculated in Georgia
workers’ compensation cases
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
|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|
Permanent partial disability example
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.
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.