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The Meaning of Permanent Partial Disability and its Transformational Impact

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

No one goes to work in the morning imagining that their life may be completely altered as the result of a workplace injury before it’s time to head home. Unfortunately, according to the National Safety Council, 4,113 workers died in 2020 as a result of work-related injuries, and another 4,000,000 experienced injuries that required a medical consultation – many of which resulted in a temporary or permanent disability. There are four basic determinations of the level of Worker’s Compensation disability – which will be defined by the treating physician:

  1. Temporary Total Disability an injury that completely prevents you from performing any work for a limited amount of time. For example, you work in a warehouse and incur a back injury on the job, you may be out of work for several months.

  2. Temporary Partial Disability an injury that prevents you from functioning at full capacity at your job for a limited amount of time, but you are still able to complete some tasks. For example, you are a salesperson who slips and falls on the job – resulting in a broken leg. You may not be able to go on sales calls for some time, but you are still able to make sales phone calls and send emails.

  3. Permanent Total Disability a catastrophic injury that prevents you from ever returning to work, whether for your current employer or another employer. For example, you are a truck driver who was involved in a major motor vehicle accident on the job, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.

  4. Permanent Partial Disability a permanent injury that partially – but not fully – impairs your ability to work. You may be able to return to work in time, but you are unable to work in the same capacity as before due to your injury. This determination happens to be the most common of the four.

For the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on the last disability on that list – Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). A Permanent Partial Disability determination is reached when your treating physician deems that they’ve done all they can do, you have met Maximum Medical Improvements (MMI) and your injuries will not improve with further treatments. The most common PPD are back injuries, knee injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage or something as serious as the amputation of limbs, vision loss or hearing loss.


What Can I Expect from a Permanent Partial Disability Determination?

Like most Worker’s Compensation claims, standard benefits will include coverage for medical and therapy bills, medications, and reimbursement for costs of transportation to and from doctor appointments. Since you are no longer able to work in the same capacity as before, it may also include partial replacement of your average weekly wage. The Georgia State Board of Worker’s Compensation states that you will receive weekly benefits based on the type and extent of your permanent disability. The authorized treating physician determines ratings based upon Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment fifth edition, published by the American Medical Association. Those weekly benefits will be determined by a calculation of your wages, the scheduled weeks, and the impairment rating. Just because a doctor determines that you have met Maximum Medical Improvements (MMI), that doesn’t mean your medical visits – and the costs incurred – will end. There may be physical therapy, medication, and treatments to ensure your range of mobility, health, etc. doesn’t decline further. It might be necessary to look to Social Security Disability Insurance to further supplement a long-term disability that robs you of the ability to do the job – and potentially earn the salary – you had prior to your injury.


While not all Permanent Partial Disability cases require the guidance of an attorney, for more complex cases, serious disabilities or outcomes that you believe do not align with what you believe you are due, a consultation is well-advised. From loss of sight or hearing to the loss of a limb, the experienced Worker’s Compensation attorneys at The Edmonson Law Firm want to ensure that you are awarded the maximum benefits you deserve. We offer a first FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your case and – if we determine that you have a solid case with which we can be of service – we can determine next steps.


To schedule your FREE CONSULTATION with the skilled Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability attorneys at Edmonson Law Firm, call us at 678-271-9111, email our team at john@elf-legal.com or fill out our secure online contact form. We also invite you to visit our offices at 924 Gainesville Hwy Suite 200 in Buford. In addition to Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability, we also specialize in Personal Injury. To learn more about Georgia’s Hometown Law Firm, visit us online at www.elf-legal.com.


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