If you suffer from a work-related injury or illness, you have the right to receive social welfare support from the government for your medical care. Your hospital bill, however, is only just part of the price you pay for your injury. Since you are disabled, you are unable to perform your work – either totally or at an optimal level. As such, you also lose wages you could have earned had you not been injured.
This is the reason why under Colorado law, if you become disabled, you also have the right to be compensated for the value of the wages lost due to your work-related injury or illness. This social welfare support is paid until your disability is cured or you are able to return to work as normal.
But what if your condition does not improve? What if, even after all the medical treatments, your injury or illness continues to persist? In this case, what you are facing is a permanent disability.
When a Disability is Permanent
Your doctor will be the one to determine if you are permanently disabled. He or she will refer to what is known as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which just means that they’ve done all they can to improve your injury but it still persists. As this is the basic test for determining permanent disability, it would be best to consult a Denver disability lawyer or a Greeley disability attorney in order to guide you through this important step.
Even if you’ve reached your MMI, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically eligible for permanent total disability. This is because workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado provide support for either permanent partial or permanent total disability.
You have a permanent partial disability when you have a permanent disability, but you are still able to work in one way or another. On the other hand, you have a permanent total disability when your injury or illness becomes such a significant burden on your life that you are totally unable to work.
If you think getting approved for permanent total disability benefits is much more difficult, you’re right. Just ask your Denver disability lawyer and he’ll tell you that the burden of proof is much heavier, which is why most cases in Colorado are for permanent partial disabilities.
Knowing the Process to Claim Workers’ Compensation
When you apply for permanent total disability benefits, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts will review your case by examining your condition and background. This judge will take into consideration your current skills, work experience, education, technical know-how, and training to assess whether you can hold down a job. He can also evaluate the current job market in order to determine whether any job opportunities are available.
Thus, you are more likely to receive permanent total disability benefits if you have limited work experience or education coupled with poor labor market conditions in the community you’re living in. As your case will rely on these case-to-case representations, it would be wise to seek advice from an experienced Denver workers’ compensation attorney or, more specifically, a Denver disability lawyer in order to boost your chances.
Once you are determined to have a permanent total disability, you have the choice to receive the benefits in weekly installments, in a lump sum payment, or in a combination of these two. These benefits will be paid for the rest of your life since your disability is judged as a permanent one. The rate at which they are paid is 2/3 of the injured worker’s average weekly wage.
Obtaining permanent total disability may seem like a difficult process, but with the right Denver disability lawyer by your side, you can rest assured that you can receive the benefits you are entitled to so that you can move on from your disability and live your life to the fullest. Contact our attorneys at Kaplan Morrell for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call us at 303-780-7329