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NJ Workers Compensation Permanent Disability Benefits Schedule
In a prior blog, we advised our readers of certain remunerations available for work-related accidents. Injured workers may be entitled to either partial or total permanent disability benefits. New Jersey Workers Compensation uses a permanent disability benefits schedule as its guideline for determining the amount allotted to the injury.
Total Permanent Disability
There are two types of permanent disability under the New Jersey Workers Compensation Act. As its name implies, total permanent disability means that the injured worker is no longer able to return to work. Payment is made on a weekly basis to replace lost wages. Generally speaking, the amount paid is 70% of the average of the worker’s last earnings. This is subject to certain caps and minimums.
Partial Permanent Disability
A person who is awarded partial permanent disability (“PPD”) benefits still has the ability to do some type of work, or may even return to their old job. PPD merely gives benefits in recognition that the injured worker has suffered some degree of permanent impairment. Compensation is dictated according to the permanent disability schedule.
How is Permanent Disability Determined
At some point, the treating physician will release the injured worker to return to work or indicate that they have received maximum medical benefit. The later means that no further treatment will change the outcome of the injury or disease suffered as a result of the workplace accident.
The insurance company may set up an appointment for the claimant to be assessed by one of their expert doctors to see if there is any degree of permanent disability. This percentage can be applied to the body as a whole, or to only specific parts of it.
The injured worker’s attorney arranges for alternative medical expert opinions. It is crucial to retain an experienced workers’ compensation attorney when it comes to determining any portion of permanent disability. The insurance company’s doctor may downplay the extent of disability or even indicate that it is non-existent.
Permanent Disability Benefits Schedule
According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workplace Development, the workers compensation permanent disability schedule offers separate rating for injuries involving arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, eyes, ears or teeth. A “non-scheduled” loss pertains to the other parts of the body not specified in the schedule. Back injuries would fall in this category.
The permanent disability schedule is revised each year. The applicable schedule is dictated by the date of the accident. The chart is set up to display the percentage of disability, as well as the number of the weeks the worker will be compensated. It also shows the total amount payable for the degree of disability.