Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Received a PPD Payment, Is My Case Closed? Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Permanent Partial Disability

I get calls from injured workers in Minnesota a couple times a month who’ve received a check in the mail from the workers’ compensation insurance company and a Notice of Benefit Payment which indicates that they’re receiving payment for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits. These folks often have questions about what exactly this payment is for, and how it may affect their rights. 

Usually, the permanent partial disability (PPD) payment is based on a rating that your doctor assigned to your permanent injury. In some cases, insurance companies pay a minimum amount of permanent partial disability benefits if there’s a question as to whether the injured worker may be eligible for a higher rating.

Receiving a permanent partial disability (PPD) payment on a Minnesota workers’ compensation case does not mean that your case is settled or closed. Cashing your PPD payment does not mean that you’ve accepted a settlement, or agreed to close your case. 

Many workers who receive a PPD payment are eligible for additional workers’ compensation benefits. When I speak with injured workers who have questions about a PPD payment they’ve received, I typically try to evaluate:
  • Whether the amount of PPD is correct. 
  • Whether a maximum medical improvement (MMI) determination is premature. 
  • And, whether they may be eligible for additional workers’ compensation benefits. 
A while back, I met with an injured worker for an initial consultation. He had a couple back injuries over the years, and had undergone back surgery. He had been off work due to his back problems for a couple years, which had resulted in progressively worsening neurological problems in one of his legs. He told me that he had settled the monetary benefits on his back injury claims. In the meantime, we decided to pursue a claim for payment of his outstanding medical expenses.

As part of investigation his claim, I obtained copies of his workers’ compensation file from the Department of Labor and Industry. While I found documentation that this gentleman had been paid permanent partial disability benefits for some of his back injuries, I couldn’t locate any documentation of any settlements. The attorneys for the insurance companies involved were also unable to locate any documentation of any settlements. I realized that this gentlemen ASSUMED that he had settled his cases because he had received permanent partial disability payments for his injuries.

In fact, because he hadn’t settled his cases, this gentleman has a substantial claim for wage loss benefits, in addition to his claims for payment of his medical expenses.

The moral of the story is that a permanent partial disability (PPD) payment on a Minnesota workers’ compensation case is not a settlement or a close out of other claims. 

If you’ve received a permanent partial disability (PPD) payment on your Minnesota workers’ compensation case, a workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate whether the payment is appropriate and whether or not you have additional workers’ compensation claims. For a free, no-obligation Minnesota workers’ compensation case consultation, call Meuser & Associate at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email. 


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