Once you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), if you have a permanent injury, your doctor may assign you a permanent partial disability rating.
Your doctor will refer to the permanent partial disability guidelines developed by the Department of Labor and Industry, under Chapter 5223 of the administrative rules. The percentage rating you are assigned is then multiplied by a dollar figure set by the Minnesota Legislature to determine the amount of your permanent partial disability benefit. For example, if you’ve sustained a herniated disc in your lumbar spine, and you’ve been assigned a 10% permanent partial disability rating, the benefit owed to you would be $8,000.00.
Permanent partial disability benefits are payable on the same schedule that you have received temporary total disability (TTD) wage loss benefits, or at the same time that you receive temporary partial disability (TPD) wage loss benefits. You also have the right to request that the permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits be paid as a single lump sum payment. Note that if you request a single lump sum payment of your PPD benefit, the workers’ compensation insurer can take a present value discount of up to 5% of the lump sum. For example, if you’ve been assigned a 10% PPD rating, your PPD benefit would be $8,000.00. If your weekly temporary total disability (TTD) benefit was $800.00 per week, the insurer will pay your PPD benefit weekly at a rate of $800.00 per week for 10 weeks until your PPD benefit has been paid in full. Alternatively, you can request that the $8,000.00 be paid in a single lump sum.
If there is no dispute as to the amount of your permanent partial disability benefit, the insurer should make the lump sum payment or begin making periodic payments as soon as your temporary total disability benefits cease, and as soon as the rating is determined. If there is a dispute regarding the amount of the PPD benefits you’re owed, the insurer is still supposed to pay at least a minimum lump sum payment or begin making periodic payments, at least to the extent that your benefit is undisputed. For example, if your own doctor assigned you a PPD rating of 10%, but the workers’ compensation insurance company takes the position that your PPD rating should only be 6%, they should begin paying the undisputed portion of your benefit – the 6%, while you proceed through the dispute process to establish your entitlement to the additional permanent partial disability benefit. This doesn’t always happen in practice, though. If there is a dispute regarding the amount you are owed for PPD, it is not uncommon for the insurer to refuse to pay anything, even though they acknowledge that they owe you at least something. A Minnesota workers' compensation attorney can assist you with getting a settlement of the PPD benefits you are owed.
Disputes regarding Minnesota workers’ compensation permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are common. For example, some issues that commonly arise regarding PPD benefits include the following:
- Your doctor never assigns a permanent partial disability rating, and the insurer never seeks to obtain a rating, even though your injury obviously warrants the payment of PPD benefits.
- You are assigned a rating, but the insurer simply “forgets” to make payment.
- The insurer argues that your condition is partially due to a pre-existing condition, and reduces or refuses to pay the full amount of the PPD rating assigned to you.
- Your doctor assigns a rating, and the insurer takes the position that the rating should be lower.
- Your doctor assigns a rating, and the insurance company doctor (IME) assigns a different rating. The insurer will almost always pay the lower of the two ratings.
- The insurer argues that your doctor assigned you the wrong rating under the schedules.
- The insurer may dispute the precise diagnosis, and therefore, which PPD schedule applies to your condition.
- If you have PPD ratings for multiple body parts injured as a result of the same work-related injury, the insurer may improperly combine the ratings, resulting in an overall lower PPD rating.
- If you have a condition that is due to a combination of more than one work-related injury, there may be a dispute between two or more insurance companies as to which one is responsible for paying the benefit.
We regularly review the files of injured workers who don’t think they are owed any additional workers’ compensation benefits, only to discover that the workers’ compensation insurer either failed to pay PPD benefits, or underpaid those benefits.
If you have a permanent injury contact Meuser Law Office, P.A. at 1-877-746-5680 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Meuser Law Office, P.A. is one of the few workers’ compensation law firms in the state of Minnesota that also handles PERA and MSRS disability claims. We’ve successfully represented hundreds of State Patrol, police officers and firefighters with permanent injuries throughout the state for both workers’ compensation and PERA/MSRS disability claims. Sitting down with us for a consultation to learn more about your potential claims is a lot like financial planning. We can explain what rights you have and make recommendations to you in terms of how to best protect your rights to those benefits. The knowledgeable attorneys at Meuser Law Office, P.A. can help make the process easier to navigate. Contact us today at 1-877-746-5680.
by Jen Yackley
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