When you have suffered a serious injury at work in Virginia and have been awarded workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits can include Permanent Partial Disability (or PPD). These benefits are awarded for the permanent loss of use or range of motion of a body part.
What can you get a Permanent Partial Disability Rating for?
You can receive a PPD rating for an amputation, permanent loss of use, or range of motion to your extremities. Virginia does not issue a Permanent Partial Disability Rating for your neck or back, however, if you have a neck or back injury that is affecting your arms or legs, you could get a rating on the affected extremities.
What You Must Know about Permanent Partial Disability in Virginia
How is PPD Calculated?
PPD benefits are calculated by a standard math formula. It is the rating your doctor gives you for the loss of use of the body part member, multiplied by two-thirds of your average weekly wage, multiplied by a certain number of weeks, depending on the body part being rated. The number of weeks is set by the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission; you can find this information on the Commission’s website or in the back of my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers Compensation in Virginia”.
The Formula: %Rating x 2/3rds of your average wages x weeks assigned by VWC
How do I get a PPD Rating?
Several things must occur before you can get permanent partial disability benefits. First, your doctor has to say that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. This basically means that there is nothing more he can do for you and you’re not going to get significantly better than you already are as of that date. The next thing is that your workers’ compensation treating physician has to give you a disability rating for your body part that has been injured. Usually, this is done by the doctor referring you to a physical therapist to have a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). Once the FCE has been completed and the physical therapist drafts a report, it is submitted to your doctor, who either approves or disapproves of the rating that the physical therapist has given. Next, the insurance company needs to agree that it is the appropriate rating and agreement forms will be created for your signature in order for you to receive your benefits.
What About Pain and Suffering
Under Virginia Workers Compensation Rules, there is no provision for financial compensation for pain and suffering.
Can I Receive Payment of my PPD benefits if I’m Still getting Temporary Total Checks?
No. You cannot get both total temporary disability benefits at the same time you receive permanent partial disability benefits. However, once you return to work, your lost wage checks stop, and your weekly permanent partial disability check begins.
How are the Permanent Partial Benefits Paid?
It is split up into weekly payments just as your temporary total disability benefit check. You cannot receive a temporary total (lost wages) check and a permanent partial disability check at the same time. Thus, what normally happens is that the employee is released to full duty, which stops the temporary total check, and at that point, he would begin receiving his weekly checks of permanent partial disability benefits. However, if requested, the employee can ask the insurance adjuster to receive the permanent partial disability benefits in a lump sum. However, this is done at a cost. Usually, insurance adjusters request a 10 percent discount to give you your permanent partial disability benefits in one lump sum. I normally do not recommend my clients to go this route. Many times, you may receive your workers’ compensation check in a lump sum anyway, simply due to the passage of time trying to get the paperwork straight.
About the Author: Michele Lewane
The Injured Workers Law Firm is a Richmond, Virginia based firm solely focused on serving clients with workers' compensation claims in Virginia. If you have questions about your benefits or if you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order our book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” , or call our office today (804) 755-7755.