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Permanent partial disability—the non-existent benefit

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Let’s be honest.  The Indiana workers’ compensation laws are not great.  One of the biggest inequities occurs when an injured worker suffers an on-the-job injury that is significant and permanent but not serious enough to render the worker totally disabled.

Let’s digress.  In Indiana, injured workers who suffer permanent work injuries and can return to some reasonable employment, receive a settlement based upon a percentage or PPI (permanent partial impairment).  For example, if a worker injured his spine, undergoes a lumbar one-level spinal fusion and is assigned a 10% PPI rating, that worker might be offered a settlement of $15,170.00 (10 x $1,515.00).  What if that worker held a high paying job and can now only earn low wages post-accident?

In Indiana, workers who can return to some reasonable employment only receive a PPI settlement.  There is NO benefit to make-up for the future lost wages caused by the loss of the high paying job.  In Indiana, a worker can only receive future lost wages if he or she cannot return to any reasonable employment.  These totally disabled workers can attempt to receive the highest benefit called permanent total disability or PTD.  This benefit pays the worker a weekly check for 500 weeks and those checks can be extended via the Second Injury Fund.

So, Indiana law is not good.  There is no benefit for future lost wages for workers who return to work.  In Indiana, permanent partial disability does NOT exist.

 

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