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Permanent Partial Disability – PPD

Permanent Partial Disability

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PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY in Maryland Workers Compensation Cases

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Permanent Partial Disability

If you are involved in a workers compensation case you may have heard that you are entitled to a permanent partial disability payment.  With mention of the term PPD often comes a number of questions regarding such payments and what they mean for the injured workers future.  There is more than one reason to obtain a permanent partial disability award and often the compensation available is of the least concern to the injured worker.  There is a specific time the injured worker should seek a permanent partial disability award and there are proper steps to take to maximize the PPD award.

What is Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)?

Permanent Partial Disability is a designation by the Workers Compensation Commission finding that an injured worker has a partial disability that is permanent in nature.  Despite the term, it does not result in permanent payments.  It is a payment or series of payments made by the workers compensation insurance company to an injured worker who is left with permanent problems.  The payments are made after an Award of Compensation is issued by the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission.  The Workers Compensation Commission will issue an award of Compensation after a Commission hearing has taken place or if the parties involved, the insurance company and the injured worker, agree to a percentage of impairment by way of stipulated agreement.

Permanent Partial Disability payments are made on a weekly basis for a finite period of time determined by the amount of the award.  The award will indicate a percentage (%) of impairment that will be equated into a number of weeks.  The weekly payments can range from 1 week to over 500 weeks for the more serious injuries.  PPD payments are also at times payed retroactively based on the last time the injured worker was paid a lost wage payment.

The amount of the weekly permanent partial disability payment is determined by the injured workers wages while working and also state law which predetermines the rate of pay.

Weekly ppd payment rates for first and second tier awards:

Year  Tier 1/Tier 2

2010  $142/307
2011   157/314
2012  162/322
2013  166/330
2014  167/333
2015  168/335
2016 172/343
2017 176/351
2018 183/365
2019 187/372

 

Why is it important to obtain a permanent partial disability award?

There is legal significance behind obtaining a permanent partial disability award  other than simply obtaining compensation.  While the compensation is often welcome and sometimes celebrated with the award comes a percentage of impairment.  The percentage impairment outlined in the award will designate the amount of money the injured worker will receive however it will also strengthen or weaken the injured workers chance of re-opening the workers comp claim for further medical treatment should the injured workers condition worsen.  If the permanent partial disability percentage awarded is relatively low then the injured workers chances of getting continued medical treatment in the case is low.  If, however the injured worker is successful in obtaining a high or reasonably high award there chance of getting medical treatment in the future are higher.

When is the best time to obtain a Permanent Partial Disability award

Treatment is finished or only Palliative treatment remains

The injured worker should understand why it is important to obtain a permanent partial disability award from the Workers Compensation Commission however knowing when to obtain a permanent partial disability is equally as important.  There are a number of steps that should be taken before pursuing PPD. 

First and foremost the injured worker must be at a point when they do not want any more treatment in the case.  If a physician is recommending further treatment and the injured worker wants more treatment then the case is not ripe for obtaining a permanent partial disability award.

If however the injured worker does not want the treatment that is being recommended they may pursue permanent partial disability.  A careful discussion with the attorney should take place before the injured worker elects to move to PPD when treatment is being recommended by a doctor.  Declining treatment can paint the picture that the injured worker is truly not hurt.  It is assumed that if one is truly hurt and treatment will help the injured worker would get the treatment.  Declining treatment recommendations can have a negative impact on the permanent partial disability award.Often the injured worker will want more treatment but doctors have no further treatment recommendations.  In this scenario the injured worker can seek a second opinion regarding treatment.  Ultimately if no doctor recommends treatment then there be no choice but to pursue permanent partial disability. 

In some workers compensation cases the injury is so severe that treatment may not ever come to an end.  For instance an injured worker requiring continuing pain medication for life.  In another circumstance an injured worker may require lifetime physical therapy in order to maintain there status quo and avoid a medical decline.  In these workers comp cases the injured worker would be permitted to seek a permanent partial disability because they are continuing with “palliative treatment” only.

The term Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is used to determine if the injured worker is ready for a permanent partial disability award.  For a discussion about mmi go here.

Before 2 years from the date of the accident or 5 years from the date of the last lost wage payment 

The injured worker has 2 years to file a workers compensation claim and seek permanent partial disability payments.  If the claim is filed correctly and within 2 years of the date of the accidental injury then the injured worker has 5 years to seek an award.  In other words- if the claim form is not filed correctly and timely then the 5 year limitations does not apply.

Within 5 years of filing the claim a permanent partial disability award must be obtained.  If 5 years time goes by since the last workers compensation payment (temporary total disability) or if no temporary total disability payments were made in the last 5 years then the injured worker will have no option to seek permanent partial disability.  

Within 1 year of finishing treatment

There is no hard and fast rule regarding the waiting period after treatment has finished but before a permanent partial disability award can be obtained.  A general rule used by some workers compensation lawyers is that it should not happen immediately but should happen within 1 year from the end of treatment. 

On occasion those who attempt to seek a ppd award immediately after treatment has ended   experience a set back in the case because a flare up in pain leads to the need for treatment before the permanent partial disability hearing can take place.  It can be a good practice to wait a couple months before pursuing ppd just to ensure the injured workers condition has indeed stabilized.  Alternatively an injured worker may not want to wait too long after treatment ends, say 4 years, because there physical condition may change because of new accidents or arthritis.  

If a treating physician indicates in his or her report that it will take x amount of time for the injured worker to recover to their full extent that may be a good indicator as to when permanent partial disability could be sought.

How do you get Permanent Partial Disability?

The first step in obtaining a permanent partial disability award is to acquire the evidence that is needed to prove a permanent injury exists.  This is done with the use of medical records from the treating providers and the help of an expert witness.  An expert witness will be hired to perform an evaluation for the purpose of obtaining a permanent partial disability award.  The Independent Medical Evaluation will be performed for the purpose of providing a rating.  Independent Medical Evaluations performed for this purpose are often referred to as “Ratings.”  Once the Rating report is available the workers comp lawyer can file for a hearing.  

To file for a hearing for permanent partial disability the workers comp lawyer will file a form referred to as issues and will note in the issues that “nature and extent” is being sought.  A hearing will then be scheduled which will prompt the insurance companies workers comp lawyer to schedule a Rating for their use.  

As the hearing approaching the insurance companies workers comp lawyer and the injured workers lawyer may discuss stipulating (agreeing) to a specific permanent partial disability award or they may agree that the hearing needs to take place.  Once one of these options is done the injured worker will be awarded permanent partial disability.

 

AS A SIDE NOTE:

Settlement or Permanent Partial Disability?

There is a very clear distinction between settlement of a workers compensation claim and obtaining a permanent partial disability award.  The distinctions highlighted in this post help to identify whether settlement is appropriate over obtaining a permanent partial disability award.

https://workinjurymaryland.com/workers-compensation-settlement-maryland-workers-comp-attorney/

 

 

If you have been injured on the job  Workers Comp attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh can help.  No fee unless money is recovered!

Call Us, Click to email  or Fill out the Form below!

 

 

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Summary
Article Name
Permanent Partial Disability in Maryland Workers Comp
Description
Permanent partial disability compensation is paid to injured workers with permanent injuries. Permanent partial disability (ppd) payments can range based on the severity of the injury.
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Work Injury Maryland

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