Partial And Total Disability Distinguished

Powell Law has represented Pennsylvanians who have suffered work injuries from just about any factual situation or circumstance. Many injuries are minor and workers usually return to their same job within a reasonably short amount of time. However, some injuries create a temporary or even permanent impairment for a prolonged period of time, thereby often seriously affecting the ability of a worker to return to the same job. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act classifies such impairments as partial and total disability.

Of course, in these situations, the main concern for injured employees is the length of time Partial And Total Disability Distinguishedthey may expect to receive benefits. In Pennsylvania, the length of time that these benefits will continue depends on the type of injury. 34 Pa. C.S.A. § 123.105 contains the relevant provisions for determining a worker’s Impairment rating, which occurs pursuant to an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). An impairment rating physician determines the extent of the impairment.

An IRE may establish that a worker is disabled, and that such disability is total or partial. Total Disability pertains to employees who are 50% or more impaired by their work injuries. After total disability benefits are paid for two years, or a period of approximately 104 weeks, the employer may request a reassessment of the injuries, which may result in a change of status from total disability to partial disability.

Partial Disability refers to employees who are 49% or less impaired. Partial disability benefits are paid to workers who have the ability to presently or eventually return to work at a lower-paying job. Such benefits may continue for up to 500 weeks.

Injured workers may appeal any adjustment to their benefit status. This typically occurs when their status changes from total to partial disability. Employers may also rebut any presumption of total disability by providing evidence that a claimant has the ability to perform some, if not the same, job.

Injuries occurring in the course and scope of employment are compensable under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. At Powell Law, one of our areas of practice revolves around workers’ compensation. We effectively assist clients throughout the entire workers’ compensation claims process. Our attorneys, past and present, have represented Pennsylvania workers injured on the job for 110 years.

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