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Difference Between Permanent Partial Disability & Permanent Total Disability

Determining your workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated because the amount depends on a calculation of your average weekly wage, which depends on the industry you work in and the structure of your pay. Employers and insurance adjusters often argue that your injury is not serious and attempt to minimize your workers’ compensation benefits. At Buchanan, Williams & O'Brien, P.C., we have been representing injured workers for over 30 years. We know the benefits you should receive and how to get them for you.

Permanent Disability Benefits

When you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), but still have medical issues from your job injury or occupational disease, you are usually eligible for permanent disability benefits. Missouri recognizes two types of permanent disability benefits, including permanent partial disability (PPD) and permanent total disability (PTD).

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Permanent partial disability benefits are paid to employees who have a permanent physical impairment but can return to some type of work. The amount of PPD benefits can either be a percentage of a body part or a percentage of the body as a whole.

For example, the shoulder equals 232 weeks. When you are at MMI, a doctor gives you a rating that equates to a certain percentage of the injured body part (or to the body as a whole, which is 400 weeks). A 10% disability of the shoulder for example would equal 23 weeks.

The benefits are calculated at 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly earnings (AWW) as of the date of the injury, not to exceed a maximum amount set by the law. AWW is the employee’s actual earnings, including overtime, for a certain number of weeks before the injury (up to 52), divided by that number of weeks.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

If you are permanently and totally disabled and unable to return to any employment, you may receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, which are weekly payments for your lifetime. The amount of the weekly payment is 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages at the time of the injury, not to exceed a maximum amount set by law, which is much higher than the maximum amount for PPD.

However, PTD can be confusing when an employee suffers a severe injury and is unable to return to work, but is not classified by the doctors as totally disabled. In cases such as this, the degree of physical impairment, education level, age, and availability of work are all factors in determining PTD.

Contact Buchanan, Williams & O'Brien, P.C. Today

At Buchanan, Williams & O'Brien, P.C., we help people who are injured in work accidents. If you’re having trouble collecting the benefits you deserve, please call our St. Louis workers’ compensation attorneys for a free consultation. When you meet with us, ask about:

  • Evening and weekend appointments
  • Home and hospital visits
  • No attorney fees unless you collect

Contact us online or call our St. Louis office at (314) 635-7606 today.

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