Do I Have A Permanent Total Disability Work Comp Case?
The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Commission is sometimes asked to decide whether the injured worker is permanently and totally disabled. Permanent Total Disability (PTD) usually results in the largest awards for injured workers. The Missouri Workers’ Compensation Commission has held that an injured worker has a Permanent Total Disability case if he or she is unable to compete on the open labor market. Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether someone can compete on the open labor market.
In Rickerson v. Camdenton R-3 School District, the 55 year-old claimant was vacuuming steps when he fell and sustained an annular tear in his low back. Doctors indicated he could perform work within the medium demand level, which typically precludes a finding of PTD. However, the Commission held: 1) the claimant was older; 2) had only a 9th grade education; and 3) had only worked in manual labor positions. Given that the claimant’s injuries made him unable to continue doing manual labor, and given that his age and poor education made him unlikely to be re-trained, the Commission found he was unable to compete on the open labor market.
What Happens After I’m Found Permanent Total Disability?
Once the Commission finds that a hurt worker has a Permanent Total Disability case, the claimant is entitled to weekly payments for the rest of their life. Some claimants like that. However, most claimants that are awarded PTD work out a deal with the defense so that they can get all of the money right away. Working out a deal like that involves some very complicated formulas, charts, and graphs, and should always be handled by an attorney.
In addition to weekly payments, most claimants that are badly injured enough to be found PTD need ongoing medical treatment. Most Permanent Total Disability cases are also awarded future medical treatment for the hurt worker. This means that if they need medical treatment in the future for their work injuries, the employer has to pay for it. America has the highest healthcare costs of any country, so it’s obvious why this benefit is so important. In Rickerson, the claimant was awarded future pain medications, which can often be some of the most expensive medical costs.
Final Thoughts for Permanent Total Disability Cases
The Commission looks at several factors when determining whether an injured worker is permanently and totally disabled. If you are found to be PTD, you need to decide whether you prefer lifetime payments, or get all the money paid to you at once. Also, if you need future medical treatment, you can have the peace of mind knowing that those expenses will be covered. If you are badly injured at work, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to learn what benefits may be available to you.