"Nature" Deals With the Duration of Time; "Extent" Deals With the Degree of Injury
There are four different categories of disabilities that are covered under the Defense Base Act (DBA): permanent total disability, temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and temporary partial disability. Each of these classifications carries two important pieces of information: how long you are expected to be disabled, and the extent of your injury.
Difference Between the “Nature of Disability” and “Extent of Disability”
The nature of your disability covers the duration of time that you are expected to be disabled (the temporary or permanent classification). The extent of your disability, however, is slightly more complicated. The extent of your disability concerns the degree of the injury (total or partial), but also the degree to which you are able to successfully function. Generally speaking, the extent of your disability is the difference between what you earned as a DBA worker (read: your average weekly wage) and your post-injury earnings.
Your compensation will also depend whether you have suffered a scheduled or unscheduled injury under Defense Base Act law. Scheduled injuries may involve the leg, arm, hand, foot, or hearing loss. If you have injured one of these body parts, your disability award is based upon a schedule.
If you have injured another body part, your injury is considered unscheduled. Common unscheduled injuries include the back, neck, spine, shoulder, head, or internal organs. Psychiatric trauma is also considered to be an unscheduled injury. Unscheduled injuries are based upon a wage loss concept rather than a set schedule for compensation and will depend on whether or not you are able to return to your usual and customary DBA employment.
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