Bentonville Permanent & Temporary Partial Disability Explained
For the year 2023, the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) maximum compensation rates are going to be $835.00 for Total Disability and $626.00 for Permanent Partial Disability. WC benefits are increased annually.
Dealing with workers’ compensation claims can be confusing. There are so many different categories, various requirements to meet, documents needed, and medical information to gather, things can, and do get lost in the shuffle. At the Bentonville Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we know what you are dealing with, and we are here to help you with your claim. A worker has up to two years to file a workers’ compensation claim. If the claim is not filed in time, benefits are no longer available.
Medical Benefits for Arkansas Workers Compensation Claims
One of the first things an injured worker needs to know is that if an injury occurs on the job, they must go to the doctor chosen by the insurance company or the employer. Initially, workers’ compensation provides full medical benefits.
The employer’s liability stops six months after the injury happened when no time is lost at work. Or, six months after the injured worker returns to their job, or a max of $10,000 is paid out. The amount and the time off may be extended if the employer decides to waive his or her rights, or the AWCC indicates an extension is needed.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits
Remember that temporary partial disability and permanent partial disability benefits change each year when the rates are increased. They are:
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
- The injured worker’s income is 66 2/3 percent.
- The weekly payment minimum is $20
- The weekly maximum is $392.
- Non-scheduled injuries have a maximum period of payment of 450 weeks.
- Non-scheduled injuries maximum is $176,400.
A worker only able to work part-time or in a modified work setting due to a permanent impairment, which is not a total disability, is eligible to receive 66 2/3rd percent of their weekly wage. There are some exceptions to this rule, and we can explain those.
- Temporary Partial Benefits (TPD)
- Maximum $790.00.
- The injured worker’s benefits are 66 2/3 percent of the difference between pre-injury wages and post-injury wages.
- Limited to 450 weeks.
A worker who can go back to work, but only work part-time or in a modified environment may be eligible for TPD benefits. TPD benefits compensate a worker’s reduced wages with 66.66 percent of the difference.
Permanent Partial Injuries
If a worker has sustained a permanent injury, they are likely entitled to permanent partial disability benefits as well. In each case, accident details and resulting injuries are different, and at the Bentonville Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we explain all the differences to you, allowing you to make an informed choice.
Any impairment rating received is noted as a percentage. An example would be if a worker injured their neck, head, shoulders, and/or the lower or mid back, the impairment rating from the doctor is multiplied by 450. If the worker is assessed at an impairment rate of 16 percent, 16 percent of 450 is 72 weeks of benefits.
Here’s where things can get confusing. If the worker’s injury is to the “body as a whole” they may be entitled to additional PPD as wage loss. If the injuries are to extremities, and not the whole body, the worker may receive only that rating.
How Compensation is Determined for Arkansas Workers Compensation Claims
Knowing what the compensation rates are for your injuries is one place to start, as it gives you a sense of financial security. However, there are cases where things did not go quite right, the documentation is confusing, or something went wrong when the claim was filed, and you feel you did not get the benefits you are entitled to.
There may also be cases where the injuries sustained are referred to as non-scheduled. The difference between a scheduled and non-scheduled injury is that scheduled injuries are those for which Arkansas statutes schedule, or outline, a specific maximum number of weeks of benefits workers may be entitled to. Non-scheduled injuries are those that are calculated differently.
Workers’ compensation pays varying benefit amounts for injuries based on the type and severity. While it seems simple enough to think that the worse the injury (e.g., amputation), and other permanent injuries would pay out higher benefits, the question becomes what about injuries that result in permanent or partial disability?
What are the most common work injuries in Arkansas?
The majority of workplace injuries happen in the construction and healthcare industries.
If you want more specific general compensation information, visit here: http://www.awcc.state.ar.us/employeebasicfacts.html
If you want specific information about your case and what you may expect when you apply, give our Bentonville office a call today for a free consultation.
Types of Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Classifications
Injuries may be classified in several ways, such as total, temporary, partial, or permanent. The benefits an injured worker receives depend on which classification is applicable. Breaking an arm can mean a temporary total injury. Losing a finger may be a partial permanent injury. An amputation may mean it is not possible to work, which is considered to be a total disability.
Arkansas workers’ compensation law comprehensively details how many weeks of coverage is received for various injuries. For instance, losing a foot would result in 131 weeks of benefits, losing a finger, in 43 weeks, and losing a hand, 183 weeks of benefits.
Each case situation is different, again, depending on the nature of the injury and the severity. Deciding on the level of injury can be difficult. This is one of the reasons that talking to an experienced worker’s compensation attorney at the Bentonville Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield makes good sense. You find out what your legal rights are, how to proceed with a claim, what is required for one, and other details that apply only to your case that can help you get the right compensation.
How Is Compensation Calculated for Fayetteville Workers
The benefits, or compensation, received for being injured at work are based on the worker’s average weekly wage before being injured. A worker’s average wage is determined from pay stubs and other evidence. An injured worker then receives 66 2/3rds percent of those wages.
Most injuries that the AWCC deals with are usually total loss of function or total loss. If you lost partial functioning after being injured, benefits would be reduced according to the percentage of function the worker lost. An example would be losing 30 percent of a foot and receiving 30 percent of the benefits for the loss of a foot.
Partial is a word often used in assessing workplace injuries. In reality, any injury is partial, unless the worker was killed. However, for AWCC, any injury is considered to be partial for classification to determine what benefits to pay. This is why the AWCC has a comprehensive list of various injuries listed in AR Code § 11-9-521(a). Every injury has an individual entry for each body part affected. This list covers amputations at all possible locations.
In reality, an amputation, or another injury, where the worker is still alive, is a partial injury to the whole body. Injured workers can be awarded full benefits for the loss of that part of their body. If the loss was not a total, complete loss (of a function or a limb) the injured workers may still be able to use part of the injured body location.
What Are the Exceptions to AWCC Loss Benefits
As with any set of rules, there are exceptions to AWCC workers’ compensation loss benefits. There are specific injuries that override situations such as a worker dealing with a 30 percent loss of function in a hand (resulting in 30 percent of benefits for the hand). In other words, there are specific injuries that have specific rules that override the percentage of a loss scenario. Those specific rules include:
- An 80 percent loss of vision in an eye is a complete loss of the eye.
- Losing a finger down to the second joint is a complete loss of the finger.
- Losing a finger down to the first joint is a 50 percent loss of the digit.
It’s complicated and confusing, but at the Bentonville Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we walk you through the various permutations and combinations to explain what they mean, how they are arrived at, and how your benefits apply.
Talk to us so we can help you understand how your injury or injuries is classified. It is also important to note that there are injuries that are not listed on schedules but are considered under different rules for what is referred to as “unscheduled” injuries. As an example, common non-scheduled injuries can include occupational diseases, hernias, and psychological injuries.
How is wage loss determined in an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A worker’s wage loss is typically decided by a Judge or, agreed to by the parties involved. There are various factors used to determine wage loss. They include:
- Motivation to return to the workforce.
- Age of worker.
- Permanent restrictions applicable.
- Work history.
Put another way, there is no standard award for wage loss benefits, as each case is different.
Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield
The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. represents workers’ compensation claims from Northwest Arkansas including, Fort Smith, Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Berryville, and Harrison. Call us today for your free consultation at (479) 361-3575.