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Permanent Partial Disability Awards

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You may be rated for a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) award before the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) closes your claim if you have completed treatment and are still able to work, but you have suffered a permanent loss of function and a qualified doctor provides L&I with a PPD rating. Time-loss and medical benefits will end after receiving your disability award unless the L&I claim is reopened.

What Is Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)?

Permanent partial disability (PPD) in Washington state is broadly defined as a physical or mental impairment arising from an injury that is fixed, lasting, stable, and can’t be improved with further medical treatment. When your injury can be classified as a permanent partial disability, you are entitled to workers’ comp PPD benefits and compensation for damages.

Watch This Video To Learn More About Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Awards

Common Injuries That Can Lead To Permanent Partial Disability

 There are many common workplace injuries that could lead to PPD, including the following:

How Are PPD Awards Paid?

PPD awards are based on the type of injury and the level of severity of the injury. They are measured by an impairment rating calculated with the L&I Permanent Partial Disability Awards Charts. In general, the higher the rating, the bigger the payout. An experienced L&I lawyer and the right doctor are usually the winning combination to unlocking the maximum amount of L&I benefits to which you are entitled.

  • Permanent partial disability in Washington state is calculated when L&I closes your claim
  • Your impairment is rated by a doctor or your attending physician during a PPD rating exam, followed by an approved L&I doctor during an Independent Medical Exam (IME) once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
  • You will receive your award after you get medical care for your injury, become employable, get a rating exam, and have your claim closed by L&I.
  • If the award amount is less than three times the state’s average monthly wage at the date of injury, L&I or the self-insured employer (SIE) sends a check for that amount.
  • If the award exceeds more than three times the state’s average monthly wage at the date of injury, L&I or the SIE makes a down payment. They then pay the balance of the award once a month in installments equal to the worker’s monthly time-loss compensation (at the time of closure).

What Is An IME?

An Independent Medical Exam (IME) is a patient interview and evaluation requested by L&I or a self-insured employer to review your medical history and the details of your accident, and to establish finding, opinions, and conclusions about your physical condition. IMEs are conducted by approved L&I providers and as such, it is important to note that they are not always on your side.

This doctor will also rate your injury and its severity to determine your level of impairment as part of your claim and send the information to your employer, L&I, and your primary doctor. An IME is not a medical treatment appointment. It should be considered more of an evaluation where the L&I-approved doctor gathers all critical information about your injury and how you are currently healing so they can provide a comprehensive rating in accordance with the L&I PPD Awards Charts.

What Is Impairment?

Impairment is a “loss, loss of use, or derangement of any body part, organ system, or organ function,” and can develop from a workplace injury or an occupational illness. An impairment is considered permanent when it has reached maximal medical improvement (MMI). An impairment may lead to functional limitations or the inability to perform daily activities.

How Does A Doctor Determine Impairment?

To keep PPD ratings fair and consistent, Labor and Industries-approved doctors must follow the guidelines in the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

These aim to be a comprehensive guide for any potential impairment workers may encounter, and doctors are required to consult these resources when determining ratings for PPD cases.

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How Much Is My L&I Permanent Partial Disability Award Worth?

In Washington State, factors that determine an award amount include the date the injury occurred, the severity of the injury, and the steps the injured worker takes to receive the compensation they need.

  • Permanent Partial Disability awards: payment is typically based on the type and severity of the injury and whether an independent medical examination (IME) agrees or disagrees with the physician’s opinion. Washington State L&I updates injury payouts each year based on the cost of living adjustments (COLA); the date of your injury will influence your L&I award amount.
  • The seriousness of your disability: During the course of your workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to complete one or more IMEs conducted by a doctor other than your primary provider. regarding your medical condition. Your injury is rated as a percentage in its category and given a value of 1–9. Generally, the higher the number, the more significant your injury is. Your PPD award is calculated from those numbers before your case is closed. The Permanent Partial Disability L&I settlement calculator is the L&I Disability Awards Charts.
  • What you’ve done to help yourself: if you’re proactive regarding your injury claim and work hard to ensure your claim has the correct information, the claim process will proceed smoother and you could even earn more in your award payout.

Workers’ Comp Permanent Partial Disability Settlement Calculator

The Permanent Partial Disability settlement calculator is the L&I Disability Awards Charts,

and is calculated as part of the claim closing process. Based on the location of the injury on your body, the severity, and when the injury happened, L&I will calculate your PPD award when it’s time to close your claim.

Your injury is rated as a percentage in its category and given a value of 1 – 9. The higher the number, the more significant your injury is. Your PPD award is calculated from those numbers before your case is closed.

Your final award amount is determined by converting the rating received from your Independent Medical Exam (IME) to settlement dollars. Use the L&I Disability Awards Charts from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries to see the dollar figures.

L&I PPD Awards Charts begin on July 1st and end on June 30th of every year. To find your chart click on the correct date range for your date of injury.

PPD Rating Chart for Washington State

Permanent Partial Disability In Washington State Settlement Calculator Example

A worker was injured in 2015, and their injury was rated at 25% impairment of the arm below the elbow.

In 2015, this injury had a monetary value of $108,036.33, but the worker’s injury was only rated at 25%. So, their settlement would be 25% of $108,036.33, or $27,009.08, paid out in a lump sum or monthly payments.

It’s important to note that injury monetary values are non-negotiable and cannot be changed; however, they can change year-over-year when L&I updates its award schedule. Your doctor decides the injury rating percentage, and there may be some flexibility in getting this number adjusted if you have an L&I attorney on your side.

PPD Award Schedules

For bodily system injuries: use the Category Award Charts to find the PPD schedule for your date of injury, then take your PPD category rating and match it to the schedule.

For extremity injuries: find the PPD Disability Award Schedule for your date of injury, note the area of your impairment, then multiply your PPD impairment rating percentage times the scheduled amputation value at your level of impairment.

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How Long Does It Take To Get A PPD Award?

You can expect your workers’ comp PPD claim—from filing to award—to take anywhere from 3 to 5 years. However, the time can be shorter or longer depending on the specific details of your case and whether you work with an L&I attorney. Generally, PPD cases without an L&I attorney tend to be resolved faster but with a lower settlement, while cases with an experienced Labor and Industries attorney may take longer but have a better payout.

You will receive your settlement award after you get medical care for your injury, become employable, get a rating exam, and get your claim closed by L&I.

How Long Do Permanent Partial Disability Payments Last?

Your injury percentage rating, your income at the time of the injury, and which body part was injured help determine how long your workers’ comp PPD payments will last. Remember that these percentages don’t affect L&I disability pensions, which are paid out for the rest of an injured worker’s life.

How Do I Know If Workers’ Comp Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Award Is Fair?

Allowing L&I to decide what is fair is not in your best interest. The L&I Claims Manager assigned to your case has a lot of discretion to categorize the severity of your injury or illness, which determines how much L&I will compensate you. Since the Claims Manager’s job is to minimize costs, few workers ever get back everything they lose after sustaining a disability. The only way to ensure that you aren’t shorted by the system and get your maximum PPD award is to hire an experienced L&I attorney to help fight for your interests.

Can I Reopen My L&I Claim After Receiving My Award?

If your workplace injury or occupational illness worsens, you and your doctor may apply to reopen your claim. There must be medical evidence from an L&I-approved provider stating that after your claim closed, the condition caused by the original workplace injury worsened and needs more medical attention.

The amount of time that you have to reopen your L&I claim depends on the benefits you are seeking:

  • For medical treatment only, you may apply at any time.
  • For both wage replacement benefits and medical treatment, apply within 7 years of the date your claim was first closed (10 years for eye injuries).
    • If your claim has been closed for more than 7 years, you may apply for medical benefits. However, only the L&I Director may grant additional disability benefits such as wage replacement or disability awards for these claims.

Can I Protest My Permanent Partial Disability Settlement Amount?

You, your employer, and your doctor all have the right to protest any decision made about your claim. You may also appeal directly to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA).

L&I must receive a written protest within 60 calendar days of the date the decision was received (15 days for decisions about vocational benefits) or the decision becomes final.

If I Already Cashed My PPD Check, Can I Still Request More Money?

Injured workers can ask for more money even after cashing a Permanent Partial Disability award. But don’t wait—workers must appeal workers’ comp PPD decisions within 60 days of the closing order.

Your L&I Claim Is Worth More If You Also Have An Employment Law Claim

A significant number of L&I workers’ compensation claims often involve additional legal claims such as employment law or third-party claims. Many people file their claims without seeking representation from an L&I attorney and thus never discover that in addition to their L&I claim, they may be missing out on the ability to file an employment law claim or a third-party claim. Pursuing additional legal action has the potential to significantly increase a claim’s overall compensation.

What Is An Employment Law Claim?

Many injured workers find that their employer has taken, or plans to take, adverse action against them because they filed an L&I claim or are out of work. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for several reasons, including retaliation, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, or unpaid wages. An L&I attorney who is experienced in both L&I workers’ compensation law and employment law can help you with your L&I claim while simultaneously filing a federal or state law claim for the violation of workers’ rights by your employer.

What Is A Third-Party Claim?

A third-party claim is one in which someone other than your employer or co-worker is responsible for your injury. If you have been injured on the job due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation through a third-party claim, which combines your L&I claim with a personal injury claim using the same facts.

Unlike workers’ compensation payments, there is no limit to the amount of compensation an injured worker may seek in third-party damages.

Who Is At Fault For A Workplace Injury?

L&I is a no-fault system, ensuring compensation for any workplace injury. However, if a third party is involved in causing the injury, you may be able to pursue legal action against them for additional compensation under third-party claims.

How Do I Know If I Have A Strong L&I Claim?

If you have an L&I claim or wonder if you have an injury case, ask yourself the following:

  • Have you been denied the medical care benefits to which you are legally entitled?
  • Has L&I asked you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?
  • Do you have questions about the L&I claim process that you don’t understand?

If any of the above apply to you, Emery | Reddy may be able to help you with your claim!

Navigating an L&I claim can be difficult and very time-consuming, especially when you’re ill or injured. You want to focus on healing and make sure your bills are paid, but if you don’t file things properly or on time, your health, home, and job could be in jeopardy. Many individuals miss out on much-needed L&I benefits because they don’t understand what to do or how to get the most compensation for their injuries. If you are experiencing any challenges in your case, a labor and industries attorney can assist you. By contacting Emery | Reddy as soon as possible after you’ve been injured, we can help you avoid the common pitfalls of filing an L&I claim. Our Seattle L&I attorneys are here for you every step of the way.

Emery | Reddy Can Help You With Your L&I Claim

Emery | Reddy is the only law firm in Washington State that is equipped to provide comprehensive representation on your case from every angle. We thoroughly assess every case to determine if our clients have additional claims, and at times this can extend far beyond the underlying workers’ compensation claim.

If you have been injured in the workplace call Emery | Reddy today to speak with our legal team for a free case review. Please remember to have your L&I claim number readily available.

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Third-Party Claims

If your work injury was the result of another party’s actions, or if you were hurt at an off-site job location, you may have the right to seek additional benefits through a third-party claim.

Meet The Team

The L&I attorneys at Emery | Reddy are passionate about helping workers with L&I claims and employment law issues. We Help Workers®: it’s our motto and what drives us every day.

We know how L&I and big companies think, and we understand the tactics they use. Our L&I attorneys use that knowledge coupled with over two decades of experience to help our clients get access to the L&I benefits to which they are legally entitled and hold employers accountable when they break the law.

If you’re struggling with an L&I claim, injury, or legal issue at work, please call us and see how Emery | Reddy can help you today.

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Timothy W. Emery

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Patrick B. Reddy

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Karolina S. Arthur

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Paul Cipriani, Jr.

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