If you are permanently partially disabled due to an injury sustained at work, it is critical that you speak with a Missouri workers comp attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve to be gainfully employed going forward.
If you are disabled due to a permanent partial disability, you should look into workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation was created in part to financially aid someone that was injured at work and left with a permanent disability. The way that partial disability payments are calculated is often by determining two-thirds of the average workweek salary.
What Is an Impairment Rating?
According to Missouri workers’ compensation law, a physician will issue a disability rating when the worker is determined to have reached maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is when an injured person is stabilized and their condition can no longer improve. If the calculation is challenged in court, a judge is entitled to ignore the physical rating determined by the physician if they feel that the rating is incorrect or arbitrary.
When going before the judge, there are times when both parties (the insurance company, and the injured worker) are required to obtain a rating of disability to collect permanent partial disability. For instance, if the rating of the injured worker is determined to be a certain percentage of a body part (meaning the body part cannot operate at full capacity), the judge might determine that the actual rating is either more or less than what has been decided.
What Is Vocational Rehabilitation?
While each state varies regarding the requirement of vocational rehabilitation, Missouri law mandates that vocational rehabilitation be provided to anyone who is impaired because of an injury. The worker is required to be provided vocational rehabilitation within one hundred twenty days of the initial injury. It is the employer’s decision to determine if the injury sustained will result in loss of gainful employment going forward. The employer is allowed to employ the rehabilitation service of their choice.
What About Loss of Earnings When You Return to Work?
Someone who is collecting workers’ compensation benefits is allowed to have a loss of earning capacity payments that are included in the permanent partial disability calculation. If the worker is not able to return to work in the full capacity that they could have before they were injured, a judge is allowed to grant a higher permanent partial rating so that the employee is entitled to more weekly pay.
If the worker loses their position due to their conduct after their injury, then they are not entitled to receive permanent partial disability payments going forward. A reason for someone to have their permanent partial disability payments stop is if they refuse to return to work in a limited capacity if a physician deems them capable.
What Is a Vocational Expert?
A vocational expert should be consulted if there is any question about someone needing vocational rehabilitation or being able to find gainful employment without it. Both the person making the claim for workers’ compensation and the insurance company of the employer is allowed to present their own vocational expert to present a case to the court.