If you are seriously injured on the job to the point where it will impact you permanently—including impacting your ability to perform some or all of your essential job functions—you can claim that you have become “permanently disabled.” When this is the case, a claimant is eligible for permanent disability benefits.
Securing this compensation, however, is not always easy. Because permanent disability benefits can represent a significant expense to insurance providers, these companies frequently work to marginalize the condition of the claimants. One way they might do this is to dispute the extent of the disability.
Partial vs. Total Disability
There is a distinct difference between partial and total disability. Permanent partial disability means the claimant will receive benefits, but only for a pre-determined period of time Missouri Revised Statute 287.190. Depending on what body part was injured and to what degree, the claimant’s award will be paid out anywhere between eight and 400 weeks.
If the claimant is determined to be permanently totally disabled, the claimant may be eligible to receive benefits for the rest of his or her life. In these cases, it must be determined that a claimant is completely incapable of performing any job in the future, no matter how light, or as a result of the injury, combined with certain permanent injuries. Workers’ comp insurance providers are wary of these claims in particular because they represent such a financial obligation.
Who determines your disability?
Once the claimant reaches a stage known as “maximum medical improvement,” which essentially means the claimant’s condition likely will not improve any further, a doctor will examine the claimant and assess whether his or her injuries have left them with a permanent disability, and if so, to what degree. This medical opinion will then be submitted to the court. The claimant may obtain his or her own opinion on his or her own expense.
A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can assist the claimant with this process, and help them determine the best course of action. Workers’ compensation cases are often long, with drawn-out proceedings and numerous doctor visits, which makes the process overwhelming and frustrating. A dedicated Kansas City worker’ comp attorney who will put the claimant’s best interest, first, can help him or her stand up to the allegations of an insurance provider, and aggressively pursue the benefits deserved.
Adler & Manson is an award-winning Kansas City workers’ compensation law firm with over 65 years of experience. Our team has received an AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and a membership in the exclusive Outstanding Lawyers of America organization. We are available to help you 24/7 and we work on a contingency schedule, meaning you don’t pay unless we are able to collect compensation for you.
If you need legal assistance with your workplace injury, contact Adler & Manson online or call our office at (816) 333-0400 to request a free initial consultation.