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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

Seriously Injured on the Job? Here's How to Obtain Permanent Disability Benefits

“Always plain English, with no sugarcoating, no lawyer talk, no double talk. Just old fashioned, unsweetened truth.” San Diego Workers’ Compensation Super Lawyer - Bill Turley

Workers Compensation Attorney Work Injury Lawyer

The First Step

When handling your work injury case, nothing matters more than the honest truth. Nothing. You must be straightforward and honest about your case. I have seen many instances where a client will sugarcoat their injury and the courts throw out the case. Why? All because they were not honest from the get-go.

The Next Step

If you've been injured on the job, you probably have a ton of questions. I understand. You are concerned about your family and your livelihood. My suggestion is the next step you should take before anything else is to read my book, Win Your Injury Case. I wrote it to help folks like you, good people who got hurt on the job. You can order a free copy and I will cover the shipping too.

What is Permanent Disability?

Permanent disability is any lasting disability that results in a reduced earning capacity or ability to work. If your injury or illness results in permanent disability, then you are entitled to permanent disability (PD) benefits, even if you are able to go back to work.  PD benefits are also based on your AWW and are subject to maximum and minimum limits.

At some point, your PTP, a QME, or an AME will declare that you have reached a “Permanent and Stationary” (P&S) or “Maximum Medical Improvement” (MMI) status.  At this point, the doctor will determine your percentage of “Whole Person Impairment” (WPI).

This WPI percentage must be processed through a formula, set by State law, resulting in a calculation or “rating” of your permanent disability, expressed as another percentage.  This PD rating percentage will then correspond with a certain number of weeks of PD benefit payments, assigned by State law.  Ultimately, your PD value will be the foundation for settling your worker’s compensation claim or for an award from a Worker’s Compensation Judge (WCJ) if you should take your case through a trial.

In certain limited cases, if the WPI results in a PD rating that does not accurately reflect the actual extent of your disability, you may seek an adjustment to your PD rating that takes in to consideration a diminished future earning capacity in addition to disability.  In other cases of severe permanent disability, you may be eligible to receive a life pension payment in addition to your regular PD benefit.  

If you are unable to return to your usual work, your employer will have the opportunity to offer you a modified or alternative job with physical requirements that are within any permanent restrictions you may have from your injuries.  If your employer is not able to offer you any such work, then you may be entitled to a voucher which you can use to pay for training in a new and different line of work.

It is not uncommon for your case to result in more than one determination of PD.  You may have one level of PD determined by your PTP, another by a QME, and yet another by an AME.  It will then be up to you to decide how to proceed as far as settling your claim or taking your case to trial.  Generally, settling a claim where there is more than one determination of PD may require a compromise by both you and the insurance company as far as which PD rating to rely on for settlement.  

Alternatively, deciding to take your case to trial will require a careful assessment of the likelihood of which determination of PD the WCJ will rely on in rendering your trial award.  Unlike a settlement, a WCJ cannot choose a compromise among different assessments of PD.  Instead, a WCJ must choose the findings of one and only one doctor upon which to base your entire award.

Protect your rights. Call us today. 

(619) 234-2833

San Diego's Best Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Awarded Super Lawyer 2011 - 2017
Only Workers Compensation Super Lawyer – City of San Diego
Highest Avvo.com Rating
New York Times Top Attorney
Chosen Top 10 Lawyer San Diego
Awarded Best Lawyers in San Diego
Elected President of Consumer Attorneys
Chosen Trial Master by Consumer Attorneys

Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation. Thanks, Bill Turley

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