If you are injured at work in Georgia, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits. The process of qualifying for these benefits can be confusing. However, our workers’ compensation lawyers are here to help you understand it further.
In this post, we’ll outline the basic qualifications for permanent partial disability benefits in Georgia and explain how our team can help you secure the benefits you deserve.
So, if you’re curious about what it takes to qualify for permanent partial disability in Georgia, keep reading!
What are the Qualifications for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) in Georgia?
You Must Have Suffered a Work-Related Injury
In order to qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits in the state of Georgia, you must first have suffered a work-related injury. The injury must have occurred while you were performing your job duties, and it must have resulted from an accident or exposure to hazardous conditions.
For example, if you injure your back at work while lifting, you may be eligible for benefits. However, if your injury was caused by a preexisting condition, you will not be eligible for PPD benefits.
Your Injury Must be Permanent
Another key qualification for receiving permanent partial disability payments in Georgia is that your injury must be, well, permanent. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important distinction.
This is because most workers’ compensation claims are for temporary injuries such as sprains and strains. These types of injuries usually heal with time and don’t result in any long-term damage. As a result, they don’t qualify for permanent partial disability benefits.
To receive PPD benefits, you must have a permanent impairment that significantly limits your ability to work. This can be something as major as the loss of a limb or as minor as a reduced range of motion in a joint. If your doctor believes your injury is permanent, you’ll likely be eligible for benefits.
The workers’ compensation insurance company will also likely require an independent medical examination to review your case and make a determination about your long-term prognosis.
You Must Have Worked for at Least 12 Months Prior to the Date of the Injury
To qualify for permanent partial disability in Georgia, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months prior to the date of your injury. This is because the state requires you to have a “significant employment history” with your employer to be eligible for PPD benefits.
This requirement ensures that only employees who have had a long-standing relationship with their employer are eligible for PPD benefits.
Additionally, the 12-month period must be continuous; if there are any breaks in employment, the employee will not be eligible for benefits. This requirement can be a difficult one to meet, but it is important to remember that it is designed to protect employers from being taken advantage of by their employees.
You Must Have Been Treated by a Doctor and Received a Disability Rating
According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) section 34-9-263, if you have suffered a work-related injury that results in permanent partial disability, your doctor is required to use the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th edition) in order to determine your disability rating.
This guide, which is published by the American Medical Association, assigns a numerical value to each body part or area of the body in order to calculate the extent of impairment. This rating can range from 0% to 100%.
Your Disability Must Have Resulted in a Significant Loss of Earnings
To receive benefits for permanent partial disability, you must show that your disability has resulted in a significant loss of earnings. In other words, you must be able to prove that your ability to earn an income has been significantly affected by your injury.
In addition to financial loss, you must also be able to show that your disability has caused a significant decline in your quality of life. This decline can be due to several factors, including pain and suffering, an inability to participate in activities you enjoy, or a reduced life expectancy.
When Should You Hire a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
There are a few key times when hiring a lawyer in a workers’ compensation case may be particularly beneficial:
- If your employer is contesting your claim or denying that your injuries were work-related.
- If you’ve been denied benefits or your benefits have been terminated.
- If you’re struggling to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
If you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer may be the best way to ensure you receive the maximum PPD benefits you deserve.
Calculating Permanent Partial Disability Payments
The number of weeks a worker will be able to receive PPD benefits is based on the body part and disability rating given by the worker’s physician. For this number of weeks, the worker is entitled to two-thirds of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum of $675 per week.
The maximum number of weeks that injured workers can receive benefits for in Georgia is as follows:
- 225 weeks for the leg
- 160 weeks for the hand
- 135 weeks for the foot
- 60 weeks for the thumb
- 40 weeks for the index finger
- 35 weeks for the middle finger
- 30 weeks for the ring finger
- 25 weeks for the little finger
- 30 weeks for the big toe
- 20 weeks for any toe other than the great toe
- 75 weeks for one ear
- 150 weeks for both ears
- 150 weeks for vision loss in one eye
Peter, who makes $18 an hour and puts in 30 hours per week, suffers a hand injury with a disability rating of 20% at his workplace.
- Peter is entitled to two-thirds of his average weekly wage ($540 *2/3) which amounts to $360
- The maximum PPD benefit duration for a hand injury is 160 weeks. Since Peter lost 20% function in his hand, he is entitled to 32 weeks of compensation
As a result, Peter will receive $360 every week for 32 weeks, for a total of $11,520.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today!
Permanent partial disability benefits in Georgia can come in handy for workers who have been injured on the job and are unable to return to work. If you believe you may be eligible for these benefits, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the claims process and will fight for the maximum amount of benefits you are entitled to.
Contact the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines today to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to helping you get the benefits you need and deserve.