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What’s the Difference Between Temporary Disability and Permanent Disability Benefits in Workers’ Compensation?

Workers Compensation

What Are Disability Benefits?

Workers who get injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These are categorized into permanent and temporary disability benefits and are awarded depending on the severity of the damages. If you’re a victim of workplace injuries, consult lawyers from a personal injury law firm in North Carolina.

They can evaluate your case and guide you on whether to file a claim for permanent or temporary disability benefits. They can also explain the differences so that you’re well-guided in your workers’ compensation claim.

What Are Permanent Disability Benefits?

A permanent disability is an impairment with a life-long impact, one that you have to live with for the rest of your life and which will always impact your ability to work at total capacity. The disability can result from a single event, work-related injury, an occupational disease, work exposure to the body, or persistent wear and tear. Examples of permanent disabilities are:

  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of motion or strength in a body part
  • Back pain and limited lifting
  • Cancer
  • Lung damage
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic heart disease

Permanent disabilities are further categorized into:

  • Permanent partial disabilities: They limit, but don’t wholly severe an individual’s ability to work
  • Permanent total disabilities: They make it impossible for an individual to work at all, such as complete paralysis or loss of both eyes or hands.

If you suffer permanent disability, you’re entitled to disability benefits, even if you can return to your job. However, the benefits can be limited and not enough to cover all your lost income or lost future earning capacity. They also may not cover monetary losses unrelated to your ability to work. Talk to North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, and they can guide you on what to expect.

What are Temporary Disability Benefits?

You could qualify for temporary disability benefits if you are injured in a way that prevents you from doing your usual job duties. You receive the benefits if you lose wages because:

  • Your employer doesn’t offer you other work that pays your regular earnings as you recover
  • Your treating doctor says you’re unable to perform your usual duties for more than three days, or you become hospitalized overnight

Examples of temporary disabilities are:

  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Surgery rehabilitation
  • Sprains
  • Back or neck injuries
  • Whiplash

Temporary disability benefits also fall into two categories:

  • Temporary total disability: The benefits are for individuals who can’t work at all during their recovery
  • Temporary partial disability: The benefits are for workers who can perform some work as they recover but whose earnings are below the legally recognized maximum limits

After assessing your condition, your workers’ compensation lawyers in North Carolina can provide legal guidance on how to file your claim. They can also provide legal representation to ensure you’re not paid less than you deserve due to improperly categorizing your workplace injuries.

What is the Difference Between Social Security Benefits and Workers’ Compensation Plans?

Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, a disabling work injury is any medical condition or disease you sustain during work or employment. It also includes occupational diseases or pre-existing conditions aggravated by a person’s job.

The Act enumerates some specific conditions that are compensated under the Act, but also covers a broad spectrum of other injuries or unenumerated conditions with the primary qualifying condition being that the situation must be work-related. The definition and determinative factors are far more encompassing since a work injury can be anything from a bruised or punctured finger to cancer or traumatic brain injury.

Social Security Benefits

Social Security Disability provides a list of common disabilities, but it is not the final standard on what conditions qualify you for benefits under the program. The Social Security Administration defines disability based on your inability to work, considering whether:

  • You can still do the work you did before the injuries
  • Cannot do other kinds of work due to medical conditions
  • You have a disability that lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or one which could result in death

The definition is strict because it doesn’t cover people with conditions that allow them to work at their current position and those who can adjust to other kinds of work. Similarly, the system covers physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.

An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Helping You Recover Disability Benefits

Sustaining an injury that causes a disability while at work can be devastating. It’s crucial to understand how the disability is classified, which is the first step toward determining your qualification for temporary or permanent disability benefits. Skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys can also guide you in pursuing workers’ compensation and/or social security benefits.

Brent Adams & Associates is a personal injury law firm that won’t back down until you recover the rightful compensation for your workplace injuries. Our personal injury attorneys work around the clock to fight for the rights of employees injured on the job. If you or your loved one sustained injuries at work and don’t know where to start, we can help you. Call us at 910-249-6891 for a FREE consultation.

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