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If you were injured on the job, it is important to understand what constitutes a disability for Durham workers’ compensation. However, after an accident, you might be worried about your recovery and confused with how to proceed.

However, a compassionate lawyer familiar with the compensation system might be able to help. By assessing your circumstances and explaining your rights, a legal professional could help to guide you through each step of the claims process as you pursue benefits.

How is a Disability Defined for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

As defined by Durham employment law, a condition is considered to be a disability when a doctor believes that there are work restrictions that have to be assigned and that the injured worker could no longer return to any type of suitable employment. If this has occurred, the individual would most likely be considered disabled. However, there are multiple types of disabilities within the realm of workers’ compensation, including temporary partial and temporary total disabilities, as well as more permanent conditions.

Temporary Partial Disabilities

A temporary partial disability (TPD) is a situation where an injured worker is able to return to some of their work but, either by virtue of the amount of hours or pay they are given, is less than their pre-injury wages. Under these circumstances, the worker’s insurance company or employer might pay the difference between the pre-injury wages and the current wages through workers’ compensation. So, this discrepancy of wages and subsequent payment is known as a temporary partial disability.

Temporary Total Disabilities

Temporary total disabilities, on the other hand, is when a doctor restricts an injured worker from returning to work. These injuries are often severe, including back injuries, broken bones, and damage to the head. Like a TPD, a temporary total disability payment through workers’ compensation might help a worker maintain some form of financial stability while they recover.

What Happens if a Disability is Permanent?

In the event that a person’s disability permanently renders them unable to work, they might be able to receive temporary total disability benefits (TTD) for up to nine and a half years or 500 weeks. During this time, the insurance company might choose to put the worker through vocational rehabilitation to see if there is some form of gainful employment that they might be able to do. Alternatively,  the injured worker could potentially settle their case directly with the insurance company. No matter the circumstances, it might prove beneficial to reach out to an attorney for help.

A permanent partial disability is a condition where a portion of a person’s body is no longer functional. Depending on the circumstances, this percentage of disability might be distributed as five, ten, 15, or 20 percent of a person’s body.  Based on the percentage of this disability, the injured worker might be able to receive proportionate payment. In many cases, however, they could not receive both PPD ratings and TPD benefits. Many times, they must choose between one or the other.

Workers’ Comp and State Disability

State disability and workers’ compensation are related, except the former is for state employees only. Essentially, if the state employee has vested benefits with the state and has a significant workers’ compensation claim, there might be numerous benefits to settling the case. However, because these laws are nuanced and complex, it is often recommended to consult with a well-versed lawyer before deciding how to proceed.

How a Lawyer Might Help With a Disability and Durham Workers’ Compensation Claim

After an on-the-job injury in Durham, you might be looking to pursue benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. However, understanding how disabilities are categorized and considered for a claim could be essential for both how you pursue a claim, and whether or not you receive benefits. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a seasoned lawyer.