Functional Disability vs. Work Disability: Who gets what ?

After you have received all of your treatment and the insurance company has (hopefully) paid all of your temporary benefits, what remaining benefit does an injured worker have? The answer: Permanent Partial Disability. There are vast differences in the Workers Compensation laws between Kansas and Missouri in this area. My explanation of Kansas law will take a couple of paragraphs. Missouri law will take one sentence. Maybe two.

In Kansas, there are two kinds of permanent partial disability, or PPD. There is functional disability and work disability. Think of functional disability as compensation for the chunk of your body that is no longer working the same way after you have been released from treatment. This number is based on a doctor's assessment of your overall condition based on objective factors such as strength loss and range of motion loss as well as subjective factors such as pain complaints. If a doctor believes you have gotten to 80% of your pre-injury function, then you get paid for the resulting loss of 20%. The formula uses 3 factors: 1) the body part affected, 2) the percentage of impairment, and 3) your compensation rate. An example would be 20% to the shoulder for someone that makes $600 per week. In that case, the compensation rate is two-thirds of your wage ($400). The formula would look like this: 225 (the amount of weeks for a shoulder) X 20% = 45 weeks X $400 (your compensation rate) = $18,000. Seems simple? Sorta. There are some other factors to consider including the amount of lost time paid but for our purposes today we are not going to get into that.

Functional disability is used when a person has what is referred to as a "scheduled injury" only (an injury that does not include the head, back, or bilateral extremities since May 15, 2011) or if a person has an unscheduled injury (head, neck, back, or bilateral extremities since May 15, 2011) and is not eligible for work disability. So when, then, does somebody become eligible for work disability, you ask? As I can now assume that your eyes have a glazed, far away look in them, I will answer that question as well as many others in a couple of days. For now, know one thing: the percentage that the insurance company is willing to put into the above equation (and the resulting benefits they may offer to you) is almost certainly too low!

If you've been injured at work and need assistance with filing a claim or the legal process, please contact a Kansas City Workers Compensation Lawyer from our office today.

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