What is Permanent Partial Disability?

Permanent Partial Disability, also referred to as "PPD" is a cash benefit in the Oregon Workers' Compensation system. The benefit is designed to compensate an injured worker for any lost earning capacity resulting from an on-the-job injury in Oregon.

Permanent Partial Disability is determined after the injured worker becomes "medically stationary." An injured worker is medically stationary when the attending physician determines that more time or medical care is not reasonably expected to significantly improve the on-the-job injury. Once the attending physician finds that the injured worker is medically stationary, the insurance company is required to gather information to determine permanent partial disability.

There are two kinds of permanent partial disability. The first is known as "whole person impairment." To determine whole person impairment, the insurance company will send the injured worker to an independent medical examiner, or schedule a closing examination with the attending physician. The examining physician will then take measurements, depending on the kind of injury involved. For example, for a neck or back injury, the physician will measure things like range of motion, strength, and make a judgment call on whether or not the injured worker has suffered significant loss of repetitive use of the injured body part. The findings are then applied to rules that calculate the permanent partial disability rating. That number is then multiplied by a dollar figure set out in the statute to determine the dollar amount of the permanent partial disability award.

The second kind of permanent partial disability is known as "work disability." This benefit is paid when the attending physician determines that the injured worker cannot return to his or her job as a result of the on-the-job injury. The job title may be the same, but even if it is performed differently, or if there are some modifications on the job site, then the injured worker should be entitled to work disability.

Work disability can be a significant permanent partial disability benefit. To determine the dollar amounts of the work disability benefit, the insurance company will consider the age, education, and skill level of the injured worker. these are known as "social and vocational factors." The rules provide a point system, depending upon these factors. The calculation is then multiplied by either the injured worker's average weekly wage, or an index number known as the "state average weekly wage."  Only the attending physician's opinion counts in determining whether an injured worker is able to return to the job at injury.

The insurance company's decision on permanent partial disability appears in the Notice of Closure. If you do not agree with the calculation of the permanent partial disability award, you can file a Request for Reconsideration. This is an appeal of the Notice of Closure to the Oregon Workers' Compensation Division. Depending upon the issues you appeal, the Oregon Workers Compensation Division will assign a medical arbiter, which is a medical doctor, to perform and examination.

Questions? We handle these cases every day, and can help you know where you stand. call us at503-325-8600. We can appeal your case,and are only paid a fee if we obtain additional benefits on your behalf.

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Joe Di Bartolomeo is a top rated personal injury lawyer helping Oregon and Washington families