June 17, 2019

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Getting Workers’ Compensation for Permanent Disability

Iowa’s insurance laws define certain major injuries that are permanent in nature, and that involve certain areas of the body as qualifying for workers’ compensation permanent disability benefits.  These benefits may be partial or total.

The main difference between a permanent partial disability and permanent total disability is that partial disability does not entirely prevent the worker from eventually going back to work, and earning a living. However, an ongoing total disability injury will stop the employee from returning to work or performing any productive work.

Permanent Total Disability versus Permanent Partial Disability

Under the law, injuries to these areas of the body are considered permanent total.

  • Back
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Neck

Other types of injuries are eligible for permanent partial disability benefits and are called schedule member injuries. For example, if you suffer an injury to your leg, hand or foot, the workers’ compensation system will calculate the degree of permanency of your wounds. This permanency amount will depend on the level of severity of the impairment that you suffered as a result of the injury.

Factors that Determine Disability Rating

Apart from the areas of the body that the injury has affected, there are other factors that the workers’ compensation system will consider in order to determine how the injury affects your ability to return to work and earn a living.

The system will consider factors that are seemingly unrelated to the injury like the following.

  • Your age
  • Education level
  • Life expectancy

Other factors including your impairment rating, and the functional limitations imposed on you by the damage are also considered when the workers’ compensation system determines the impact of your disability on your ability to work.

Needless to say, determining the nature of your disability is challenging, and it’s important to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice about determining whether the injuries that you have suffered qualify you for permanent partial disability or permanent total disability benefits. Determination of your disability is typically based on a medical test that is performed by a doctor chosen by your employer or the insurance company.

The doctor will conduct medical examinations to determine the percentage of disability you have suffered. If you do not agree with the physician’s assessment of your disability and believe that he has assigned you a far too- low disability rating, then you may want to get another test performed by another doctor. You have every right to another opinion by another medical practitioner.

Speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Walker, Billingsley & Bair to determine how you can get another medical opinion to determine your disability: (515) 440-2852.

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