What Are Permanent Impairment Benefits After A Work Injury?
Most workers in West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida can be eligible to obtain compensation through the Florida workers’ compensation system after a workplace injury. Yet what do those forms of compensation, or those benefits, actually entail? While most workers in Florida may know that workers’ compensation benefits can provide coverage for lost wages and for medical bills, understanding the broader terminology used to describe impairment benefits is a bit more complicated. Our South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys want to discuss permanent impairment benefits with you as they are defined under Florida law.
What Does Permanent Impairment Mean?
When an employee gets hurt on the job in Florida, that employee will receive medical care and will be assessed by a healthcare provider to determine the maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement refers to the point at which the injured worker has recovered as much as she or he is going to recover from the injury. In some cases of workplace injuries, an injured worker may recover entirely from an injury. Yet in many situations, an injured worker will only be able to recover to a particular point and will have either a partial or total permanent disability.
When a person still has a disability after reaching maximum medical improvement, the injured worker will still be said to have an impairment. In some cases, the injured worker will have a permanent impairment and will be able to seek compensation for it.
When and How is a Permanent Impairment Identified?
An impairment rating must be assigned to an injured worker when one of two situations occurs under Florida workers’ compensation law: the injured worker achieves maximum medical improvement, or six weeks have passed since the injured workers’ temporary benefits ended. An appropriate healthcare provider must determine the injured worker’s impairment rating.
If an injured worker still has an impairment after one of the two conditions described above occurs, then that injured worker will likely be owed permanent impairment benefits.
Use of the Permanent Impairment Schedule
To determine the amount of the permanent impairment benefits, a “uniform permanent impairment rating schedule” will be used. That schedule will be based on medical and scientific information. An injured worker’s impairment will be based on a percentage that identifies the worker’s total amount of impairment.
When Are Permanent Impairment Benefits Paid?
Once the amount of the injured worker’s impairment benefits is determined based on the schedule, then the injured worker will receive impairment income benefits on a biweekly basis totaling 75 percent of the worker’s average weekly temporary total disability benefit. If the worker is earning income beyond a certain amount, the impairment benefits can be reduced.
Seek Advice from a West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have concerns about obtaining permanent impairment benefits, or if you have questions about receiving impairment benefits after suffering a workplace injury, one of our experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorneys can speak with you today about your circumstances. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. to learn more about how we can help you with your workers’ compensation case.