The most serious type of workers' compensation claims are when a workplace accident results in such serious injuries that the worker is unable to return to work. In such cases, the workers' compensation claim is known as a permanent disability claim.
Because the permanent disability claim is usually the injured worker's only opportunity to obtain financial resources to replace a lifetime of lost wages, legal help from a knowledgeable workers' compensation attorney is critically important.
For over 35 years, the Christensen Law Offices, in Deadwood, has handled workers' compensation claims in work injury cases throughout South Dakota. The process of making a permanent disability claim and negotiating a fair resolution is extremely complex, and no injured worker is encouraged to go through the process without help from an experienced legal advocate.
In permanent disability workers' compensation cases, there are three main areas in which an experienced attorney can help you get a completely fair resolution:
Impairment rating: If an injury or illness results in permanent disability, your benefits will be computed by a formula using an impairment rating assigned by your doctor. Different ratings are assigned to different impairments such as paralysis, spinal cord injuries, loss of limb, and so forth. The rating your doctor assigns can have a tremendous impact on the level of benefits you receive. Your workers' compensation lawyer can communicate with your doctor about the impairment rating and can also file a summary rating reconsideration petition if the original impairment rating is unfair.
Vocational training: If your permanent disability prevents you from returning to your old job but you may be able to find employment in a different field, the workers' compensation system is required to provide you with funds for education or retraining. Your workers' compensation attorney can protect your rights during any negotiations about retraining.
Compromise and release: This is the term used to describe a final settlement of your permanent disability workers' compensation case. The word "commutation" is also sometimes used. In a compromise and release, the injured worker, the employer and the workers' compensation insurance company agree on a final lump-sum payment. The amount of this payment should be carefully negotiated with help from an experienced advocate.
Losing your ability to earn a living due to a workplace accident is a shocking and life-altering event. If this has happened to your family, turn to the Christensen Law Offices for practical legal advice and calm guidance as you go through the complex workers' compensation claims and appeals process.