Michigan lawyer explains permanent partial disability and how insurance companies are abusing the workers’ comp system.
We get many telephone calls and emails asking how to calculate the weekly comp rate. Disabled employees want to know if they are receiving the correct payments from the insurance company. Truth is that insurance companies always look for ways to reduce what needs to be paid. Here is some information about permanent partial disability workers’ comp claims.
Employees hurt on-the-job in Michigan are entitled to 80% of their after-tax average weekly wage. This is based upon the highest 39 paid weeks during the 52 weeks before the workplace accident. Overtime, discontinued fringe benefits, and even second jobs should be included.
Problems occur when the insurance company says an employee only has partial disability workers’ comp. This is based upon post-injury wage earning capacity (PIWEC) and jobs that might not even exist. The insurance company says an employee can work so they are automatically considered only partially disabled.
What is a permanent partial disability?
Permanent partial disability means that an employee who was injured at work suffered an impairment that didn’t fully heal after they recovered from their workplace injury. Permanent partial disability workers’ comp claims are one of the most common types of workers’ comp cases in Michigan.
Michigan employees who suffer an on-the-job accident are entitled to workers’ comp benefits. This covers medical treatment and lost wages for missed time. Most employees quickly recover and get back to their jobs. Some employees are much less fortunate and end up with reduced weekly checks based upon fuzzy insurance company math.
Employees making permanent partial disability workers’ comp claims are not entitled to their full workers’ compensation. A transferable skills analysis and vocational assessment will be completed by the insurance company and it will show what types of jobs are theoretically available. Unfortunately, this is not a fair assessment because it does not matter if the partially disabled employee truly finds a new job.
Types of injuries that cause partial disability
Our experience shows that employees who do heavy labor are most in danger of permanent partial disability. These employees suffer back, neck, shoulder, and knee injuries that result in permanent work restrictions. Many develop several injuries over the years. It is not so easy transitioning to a sit-down job when an employee has done heavy labor his or her entire life. Workers’ comp is supposed to pay differential wage loss benefits to individuals who are forced to take lower paying jobs.
Avg. permanent partial disability workers’ comp settlement
The amount paid for a permanent partial disability workers’ comp settlement is always based upon potential future benefits. Insurance companies look at medical needs and the weekly comp rate. Partially disabled employees receive a fraction of their normal pay, so it costs the insurance company much less.
Watch out for insurance companies who exploit the system and offer low ball settlement amounts. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can show total disability through medical and vocational evidence. This will increase the amount injured workers are paid for their settlement.
Are these workers’ comp settlements taxed
Employees who are receiving partial disability benefits from workers’ comp can trade them for a lump sum cash payment. The insurance company cannot take the money back once it has been paid. This money can be used for any purpose including medical care, vocational rehabilitation, starting a new business, paying off debt, or retirement. Permanent partial disability settlements are not taxable.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 316-8033 for a free consultation today.