Qualify for permanent disability benefits.

Understanding Permanent vs. Temporary Disability in Workers’ Compensation

In Workers Compensation by Greensboro Attorney

Knowing the difference between permanent and temporary disability can significantly impact your worker’s compensation benefits. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, it pays to know the difference to know how much you can receive as compensation.

What is Temporary Disability?

Temporary disability covers any workplace-related injury or illness that prevents employees from performing their duties at work for a limited period. The period refers to at least three working days. The temporary disability classification should have a supporting document or medical report from a doctor stating that a temporary disability prevents an employee from performing their job. 

The absence from work could be for days, weeks or months. It is expected that an employee could recover from the injury or illness after a period of treatment. 

A temporary disability often results from physical overuse or repetitive movement that results in the employee injury. Here are a few examples of temporary disability that qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Sprain
  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Torn ligament
  • Back or neck injury

What is Permanent Disability?

Based on the term ‘permanent,’ this type of disability means the employee cannot return to work for good. It should come with a doctor’s report stating that the employee’s injury or illness is severe enough that they will not recover to be able to perform their work duties. The workplace-related injury or illness could have permanent effects resulting in a permanent disability, whether due to a one-time event or persistent exposure at work. 

A few examples of permanent disabilities that qualify for workers’ compensation benefits are:

  • Loss of sight or hearing
  • PTSD
  • Cancer
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of motion to a body part
  • Loss of limb
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic heart disease
  • Lung disease

Worker compensation permanent disability.

Temporary vs. Permanent Disability Benefits

Why is it important to classify if you have a temporary or permanent disability at work? The main reason why you should classify the two types of disabilities is they can affect how your benefits are calculated and for how long you can receive them.

The temporary disability benefit is awarded to any employee unable to work as they recover from their work illness or injury. Employees can receive compensation based on their average weekly wage for up to 500 weeks or until the doctor deems them fit to return to work. When the employee can return to work, their wage replacement benefits will also end during that period (or the maximum medical improvement).

The main difference with a temporary disability benefit is that the compensation you get is less than what you would make if you worked without injury. 

Many employees cannot fully recover from their injury or illness even if they have reached their maximum medical improvement. At this point, they are deemed as having permanent disability since they can no longer perform the work they used to do for an employer. If an employee has suffered from life-changing injuries, they will receive a one-time lump sum payment that varies according to the extent or severity of the injury. The employee will also receive wage replacement indefinitely based on their average weekly wage. 

While the payment of wage replacement for employees with permanent disability is capped, the necessary medical care that the employer owes them is not capped. It means that the employee can get the required medical care for their injury or illness for the rest of their life or as long as required. 

The difference in the benefits you can file a claim for shows how vital it is to classify your work-related disability correctly. A workers’ compensation lawyer in North Carolina can help if you want legal support in making the distinction. 

Applying for worker compensation permanent disability.

Work with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in North Carolina

Regardless of whether you have suffered from a temporary or permanent disability, it can change your life and ability to work. It is especially crucial when your injury is directly related to a body part you use to perform your job. 

These changes prompt you to take legal action to ensure you can recoup any financial losses that resulted from the injury or illness or generate income to support your needs. Since you cannot work, workers’ compensation benefits can provide the financial support needed for your family or yourself as you recover from your injury or illness. 

It would help if you worked with attorneys in North Carolina with experience and expertise in handling workers’ compensation cases to navigate the complexities of the law. It also helps ease stress when filing a claim, especially when you are still recovering.