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Workers Compensation Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

In Wisconsin PPD or permanent partial disability benefits are paid an injured employee when he or she reaches the end of healing and the doctor states there is a permanent work-related injury.  The end of healing period is the time when, as stated in Larsen Co. v. Industrial Commission, 9 Wis. 2d 386 (1960), "[a]n employee's disability is no longer temporary when the point is reached that there has occurred all of the improvement that is likely to occur as a result of treatment and convalescence."  The end of healing is when the condition has become stationary.

Permanent partial disability benefits are to compensate an employee for future loss of earnings, but the reality is they provide very little compensation for the seriously impaired. They are to be paid weekly after temporary disability benefits (whether for TTD, TPD, or vocational rehabilitation) stop.  See Wisconsin Statutes Secs. 102.44(3) and 102.55(3). The weekly benefit is based on the employee's wage on the date of injury.

PPD benefits for scheduled injuries are those to the body parts listed in Wisconsin Statutes Secs. 102.52-56, basically arms, legs and their parts.  For example, a construction laborer who suffers a serious wrist injury preventing him from working construction ever again is limited to benefits for the percentage of disability assigned by his doctor.  Perhaps a few thousand dollars.  In this case, his only hope for regaining a future earning capacity is vocational retraining, which could be difficult depending on the injured worker's age, ability to retrain and inclination.

Nonscheduled injuries are those not covered by the statutes, generally affecting the head, neck, back and torso.  Mental injuries are unscheduled as well.  Nonscheduled disabilities are eligible for loss of earning capacity benefits if there are permanent, work-related restrictions preventing the injured worker from returning to his former job or earning a similar amount anywhere else based on his pre-injury abilities.

For traumatic permanent disability injuries, a new law in Wisconsin states that PPD can be reduced if part of the reason for the disability is a pre-existing injury or other condition before or after the work injury.  It remains to be seen how this newly passed rule will be applied or interpreted.  Presumably, for nonscheduled injuries, the permanent restrictions will have to be specifically related to the work-related disability, something which we have always done.

McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin attorneys help calculate the correct PPD benefits payable based on the date of injury and the disability percentage given by the doctor or surgeon. In multiple injury cases, the PPD can be increased and if there are permanent work-related restrictions, loss of earning capacity or vocational retraining benefits.

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