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PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY: MINIMUM DOES NOT MEAN MAXIMUM

December 13, 2011

by Daniel Schoshinski

One of my pet peeves practicing worker’s compensation law is the assignment of permanent partial disability (PPD) by some treating physicians and most independent medical examiners. Wisconsin worker’s compensation law mandates a minimum amount of PPD for various conditions and surgical procedures. For example, a knee injury that requires in an ACL reconstruction results in a minimum 10% PPD. (100% would be total loss at the knee.) For a 2011 injury, the PPD amount could be up to $12,835, depending on the worker’s wage.

Some doctors, however, interpret the minimum percentage due as a maximum. I have had many clients tell me that the doctor said, “The law says you have 10%, so that is what I have to give you.” Statements like that are incorrect, and very frustrating to hear as an attorney. If additional disabling elements such as pain, weakness, limitation of motion, and deformity exist, the examining physician should assign a higher percentage. Since the assignment of PPD is typically only made once, it is important that it be as accurate as possible. That means adding to the minimum when appropriate.

Another troubling comment that is relayed to me by my clients is, “I think the PPD should be 20%, but if I assign that much the insurance company will fight it, so I will give you 10%.” When doctors worry more about what the insurance company thinks than assigning an accurate amount of PPD, the injured worker is not getting the compensation he or she deserves. I usually tell my clients to remind their doctor that it is the doctor’s job to provide the medical opinions and my job to fight the insurance company. If you have any questions regarding the appropriate amount of permanent partial disability in your case, please contact Hawks Quindel to determine what benefits you are entitled to.

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