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Being Disabled Within the Meaning of The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act

  • Jon Koutcher
  • 06/25/2013

The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation system is essentially set up to be a wage loss substitute for people injured at work. Disability is synonymous with a loss of earning power. Terms such as total disability and partial disability clarify the status of the injured worker; these terms have nothing to do with the seriousness or permanency of an injury.

To be totally disabled in the context of a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation claim means you are receiving total disability benefits. It means you are not receiving wages. It means you have not been subjected to an impairment rating evaluation. It means in theory at least, that your wage loss benefits can continue indefinitely. To be totally disabled simply means you have an ongoing, unencumbered right to complete wage loss benefits.

Partial disability occurs in a number of situations. It is important to remember that the injuries of a person hurt at work, even though partially disabled, can be as severe, permanent and debilitating as someone classified as totally disabled. To be partially disabled means the status of the injured worker has changed. The injured worker may have gone back to work, full or part time, earning wages the same, more than or less than wages earned at the time of injury. Partial disability could mean an impairment rating exam classified the injured worker at less than 50% impaired based upon the AMA Guidelines. Partial disability could mean that even though the injured worker has not returned to work, the injured worker has earning power based upon a labor market survey. Where total disability benefits can theoretically be received forever, partial disability benefits are limited to 500 weeks (although in some situations, such as a worsening of condition, benefits can be paid after the exhaustion of the 500 week period).

The disability status of an injured worker can change quickly, frequently and can dramatically affect the amount of wage loss benefits and the duration of receipt of wage loss benefits. If you or a loved one were injured at work and have any questions regarding your eligibility for disability benefits, contact the Philadelphia Workers’ Comp lawyers at Pearson Koutcher Law without delay. We can quickly diagnose your situation and pursue the benefits to which you may be eligible based upon our knowledge of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act and our more than three decades of combined experience representing injured workers throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Workers Compensation attorneys at Pearson Koutcher, LLP, are dedicated to the singular goal of securing maximum compensation and full benefits entitled to injured employees under the laws of Pennsylvania. Their years of experience as seasoned, skillful trial lawyers and negotiators, along with their compassion and diligent understanding of the significant impact a workplace accident can have on an injured worker’s life, motivate the attorneys of Pearson Koutcher Law, to approach each new client individually, with meticulous consideration to their specific individual considerations and circumstances. Call our office today at 215-627-0700 or email us to discuss the particular facts of your Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation matter.