Life After Injury: Understanding Permanent Disability Compensation

person in wheelchair talking with doctor

Permanent disability compensation is a financial benefit provided to individuals who have suffered long-lasting or permanent impairments as a result of an injury or illness, particularly in the context of workers’ compensation or personal injury cases. This compensation is intended to help these individuals cope with the physical, emotional, and financial challenges resulting from their permanent disabilities.

Types of Permanent Disabilities

Permanent disabilities encompass a wide range of conditions. Physical disabilities can include amputations, spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis, or severe musculoskeletal disorders that limit mobility. Psychological disabilities might stem from traumatic events, such as combat experiences or accidents, leading to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Chronic illnesses, such as advanced stages of respiratory diseases, cancer, or neurological disorders, can also result in permanent disabilities. These conditions often necessitate significant adjustments to an individual’s life and daily routines.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation programs are established to protect employees who sustain injuries or develop illnesses in the workplace. When an employee suffers a permanent disability, they can receive various forms of support, including financial compensation to cover medical bills and a portion of their lost wages. Rehabilitation services may be provided to help the individual reenter the workforce in a suitable capacity. The specifics of workers’ compensation vary by jurisdiction, and eligibility criteria are typically based on the nature and severity of the injury or illness.

Determining Disability 

Determining the extent of permanent disability often involves assessing the severity of the impairment. This process typically includes evaluations by medical professionals who assess the individual’s condition and how it affects their ability to perform activities of daily living and work. The results of these evaluations are often expressed as disability ratings, which may be expressed as a percentage indicating the degree of impairment. These ratings play a crucial role in determining the amount of compensation the individual may be entitled to.

Compensation Amount

The amount of permanent disability compensation can vary widely. Several factors influence the final compensation amount. These factors can include the jurisdiction’s specific laws and regulations, the severity of the disability, and the individual’s pre-injury earnings. More severe disabilities that significantly impact a person’s ability to work and engage in daily activities tend to result in higher compensation awards. Compensation may cover not only economic losses but also non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Structured Settlements

Permanent disability compensation can be awarded as either a lump sum payment or structured settlements. A lump sum provides the entire compensation amount upfront, while structured settlements involve periodic payments over a specified period. Structured settlements are often used to ensure that the individual receives a steady income stream to cover ongoing medical expenses, living costs, and other financial needs. The choice between a lump sum and a structured settlement depends on individual circumstances and preferences.

Legal Assistance

Navigating the processes of obtaining permanent disability compensation can be challenging and legally complex. It often involves interactions with insurance companies, employers, and potentially legal proceedings. Seeking the assistance of an experienced team, like ours at EMD Law, that specializes in workers’ compensation cases can be invaluable. Legal professionals can help individuals understand their rights, gather necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent them in court if needed.

Social Security Disability Benefits

In addition to workers’ compensation or personal injury claims, individuals with permanent disabilities may be eligible for government benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two programs administered by the Social Security Administration. SSDI provides benefits to individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system but can no longer do so due to a permanent disability. SSI is a need-based program for disabled individuals with limited income and resources. These programs offer additional financial support to help individuals cope with the financial challenges of permanent disabilities.

Choose Erwin, McCane & Daly

Understanding permanent disability compensation is essential for individuals and their families facing the life-altering effects of a disability. It empowers them to seek the support and compensation they need to maintain their quality of life, access medical care, and secure their financial well-being. Consulting with legal and healthcare professionals who specialize in disability cases can make the process smoother and increase the chances of receiving fair compensation. Our team offers free consultations and represents our claimants for no upfront cost. When we are successful in your claim, the judge will determine what our fee should be. Visit our website to learn more or to contact our team today!