Serving Ohio's Injured Workers since 1993
What is Permanent Partial Disability?
Compensation for permanent partial disability is available to an injured worker has a permanent impairment that does not result in a total disability. For instance, if you have had work injury, but have returned to work, then you are eligible to apply for permanent partial disability. This form of compensation is payable pursuant to R.C. § 4123.57.
Permanent partial disability is much like a pain and suffering award in a personal injury claim. The main distinction, however, is that permanent partial is designed to compensate not for “pain and suffering” but rather for “impairment to earning capacity.” In most cases, permanent partial disability awards are paid in a single, lump sum, payment.
What is involved?
This benefit is not automatic! You must apply for this award. Depending upon your date of injury, you may apply no sooner than either six months or forty weeks from the last date of temporary total (or wage loss) compensation paid. You can also receive permanent partial even if you have never missed work due to your injury. The process begins with the filing of an Application for Permanent Partial Disability Compensation.
Once the BWC receives your application, they will put it on hold for sixty days. After the expiration of this sixty day hold, they will schedule the injured worker for a medical examination. The BWC examiner will write a report with a recommendation as to your percentage of permanent partial disability.
How is my Percentage of Disability Established?
The percentage of disability is typically done in accordance with the Guides to Evaluation of Medical Impairment of the American Medical Association. There are several different editions to the Guide. Often times, the use of one edition versus another can have a huge impact upon the amount that an examiner assigns to your condition. These are highly specialized examinations. It is unlikely that your family doctor is trained to perform such an examination.
I often tell my clients to think about the percentage system this way: If you are lying comatose in a hospital bed, then you are suffering from a permanent partial disability of one-hundred percent. However, if you have – for instance – a shoulder injury, then you have suffered impairment to one of your four extremities. Therefore, by definition, your impairment will not be likely to exceed twenty five percent.
What is the BWC Tentative Order?
After the BWC receives the results of their own examination, they will issue what is known as a Tentative Order. By statute, the injured worker will receive two weeks of compensation in an amount equal to two-thirds of the injured workers average weekly wage for the year prior to his or her injury but not to exceed one third of the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) during the year of injury. Click here to see the SAWW for each year (under the column entitled “PP’A’ Max”).
It is my experience that BWC examiners have a tendency to under-report the extent of disability. You are not bound by the recommendation of the BWC examiner. To challenge this finding you must file an Objection to Tentative Order within twenty days of its receipt. The BWC will then refer your claim to the Industrial Commission of Ohio for a hearing. You must then introduce your own medical evidence to argue for an increase in the amount of your percentage award. The Law Office of Thomas Tootle can assist you with this complex process.
Are you leaving money on the table in your Ohio BWC claim?
It is likely that neither your employer nor the BWC will make you aware that you are eligible for permanent partial disability compensation. Your employer has no obligation to educate you on the benefits to which you are entitled. Often an injury will limit the range of motion of your arm or your spine. Once you become accustomed to this loss you may think little of it. Yet, this loss will often result in an award.
Some workers have the notion that if they file for permanent partial disability then they will be settling their claim. This is not the case. In fact, this award has the added benefit of extending the life (statute of limitations) of your claim.
Some workers also believe that they can be punished for pursuing this award. This is not the case. Ohio law strictly prohibits an employer from engaging in this type of misconduct.
If you have already received an award, you can also apply for an increase. Don’t leave money on the table. File for this benefit! Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Tootle today to assist you with this process.
Law Office of Thomas Tootle Co., LPA
85 E.Gay St., #900, Columbus, OH 43215
(866) 583-0348 ● (614) 228-6484 (fax)
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