Most workers who get hurt while on the job will only require minimal medical assistance. Often, a worker who suffers a laceration or a blow to the head may need to leave for the rest of their shift but will then be back to full functionality the following day.
Occasionally, a worker will have injuries that persist for longer than a single day, requiring temporary disability benefits. In extreme cases, a worker who can no longer continue working after an injury may require permanent total disability benefits.
Sometimes, a worker can go back to work but can’t do the same job anymore. These employees may require permanent partial disability benefits. Such benefits help cover the difference in wages between what a worker made before their injury and afterward. When might a worker qualify for permanent partial disability benefits?
After a brain injury on the job
A worker who falls, gets struck by machinery or suffers a motor vehicle collision on the clock could develop a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result. TBIs can be debilitating conditions.
Many of the symptoms a TBI creates may make a worker unable to continue the same profession. Memory issues, changes in personality, difficulty with fine motor skills and balance issues could all limit what job functions a person can perform and require that they accept a less demanding job elsewhere.
After an amputation or catastrophic fracture
Workplace accidents can sometimes result in the loss of a previously healthy and functional body part. A traumatic amputation on the job or a surgical amputation that results from severe injury could permanently reduce how much someone can earn for their labor.
You don’t have to lose a limb for you to suffer permanent loss of function. Those who experience significant fractures may also struggle with function after their recovery. A bone that breaks the skin after a fracture, breaks in multiple places or requires reinforcements may not heal as cleanly as other fractures. The long-term impact on strength and function may limit the work someone can do.
After a soft tissue injury
When a worker suffers a soft tissue injury, it can be hard to track their progress during recovery. In lieu of extremely expensive imaging tests, the only standard to determine the severity of the injury may be a worker’s self-reported pain symptoms. Workers who have ongoing pain or a permanent reduction in strength or range of motion after a soft tissue injury may no longer be able to perform the physically demanding jobs that provide a premium wage.
Realizing that your reduced earnings potential makes you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits can minimize the lifelong consequences of a work injury.