Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are potentially available in all workers’ compensation claims, even claims where an individual has not missed work on account of the injury. For recent claims, the injured worker may seek this benefit no sooner than twenty-six weeks after either the date of injury or after the last payment of temporary total disability compensation.
In theory, the PPD award is perhaps most similar with a “damages award” that is typically found in personal injury cases. A PPD award recognizes that as a result of the injury, an injured worker does not have the same functionality as he or she had before the accident. For example, consider an individual who has undergone a rotator cuff tear. Although the tear may have been surgically addressed and even though the individual has perhaps returned to work, there may continue to be residual impairment that hampers his or her everyday life. Range of motion may be limited. Pain may continue to be present. These are factors considered in a PPD award.
Depending on the circumstances of the claim, the PPD award can potentially increase as the claim progresses. If new and changed circumstances develop in the claim, the PPD award can be revisited to see if an increase is warranted.