Partial Disability

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What is a Partial Disability?

Georgia workers’ compensation law uses the term “partial disability.” It takes into account a permanent disability that makes it hard for you to work or function. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to work again, but your injury will probably limit you in some ways for the rest of your life.

When people get hurt at work, they often have to deal with some permanent disability for the rest of their lives. This could be something like being unable to lift heavy items or a more serious condition, like losing a finger or hand.

How Is Partial Disability Dewtermined?

When an employer or insurance company decides that you have a partial disability, they do so based on the opinion of a doctor or another medical professional. In the state of Georgia, a medical professional is required to assess a partial disability. Doctors do this by referencing a book by the American Medical Association called Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. This book instructs doctors on how to rate different kinds of injuries after assessing their severity.

The doctor will give you a permanent impairment rating in the form of a percentage based on your condition. The number of weeks is then based on this percentage of disability. Next, those weeks are multiplied by your average weekly wage as set out by Georgia workers’ compensation law. Then, your employer will give you those payments weekly or use that number to offer you a lump sum settlement.

When Does a Doctor Determine Partial Disability?

After fully recovering from your work injury, a doctor can determine your permanent impairment. But sometimes, people never fully recover. So, doctors have to measure your “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).

This is the point in your treatment where you are basically “as good as you can get under the circumstances.” You must reach MMI to receive a permanent impairment rate that determines your permanent partial disability.

What Are the Types of Partial Disability?

Under Georgia’s workers’ compensation law, there are two main ways to rate a person’s partial disability. Most of the time, “body as a whole” is used. This rating is for “non-scheduled members” who get hurt. On the other hand, a scheduled member is a specific part of the body, like the arms or legs. So, for example, an injury to your back is often a “body as a whole” injury.

This difference is crucial because it will change how many weeks of benefits you could get. A body as a whole injury will pay three times the percentage of impairment. So if you have a 10% impairment rating for an injury to your back, you can get permanent partial disability benefits for at least 30 weeks.

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