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Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits: How Worker’s Compensation Helps Those Who Can No Longer Work Due To a Work Injury

Worker’s compensation law provides a category of benefits called “permanent total disability,” or PTD, benefits, for workers who are permanently and totally disabled as a result of a work injury. PTD benefits are a lifetime benefit, and are paid on a weekly basis, at two-thirds of the worker’s gross wages previous to the injury. The worker is also entitled to reasonable and necessary medical expenses.

Basis for Finding Permanent and Total Disability

A worker may be found permanently and totally disabled on either a medical or vocational basis. From a medical perspective, a worker is permanently and totally disabled if the worker is no longer able to physically work due to the severity of the work injury. From a vocational perspective, a worker is permanently and totally disabled if they have suffered a complete loss or a near-complete loss of their earning capacity.

Injuries Which Can Result in a Claim for PTD Benefits

PTD benefits are typically only available for injuries to the back, head, neck, torso, or body system, or mental injuries, and are not available for injuries to the limbs. However, Wisconsin courts have recognized a worker’s ability to bring a claim for PTD benefits based on a combination of injuries – even if the work injuries occurred at different times – as long as a measurable portion of the total disability is attributable to a back, head, neck, torso, body system, or mental injury.

Thus, workers may qualify for PTD benefits as a result of a single, significant work injury – such as a spinal cord injury – if the injury results in the inability to return to work or a loss of earning capacity. Worker may also qualify for PTD benefits as a result of two or more work injuries – such a knee injury followed by a neck injury years later – if the combination of injuries result in the inability to return to work or a loss of earning capacity.

An important note to keep in mind is that the worker’s compensation law places a time limit on your ability to bring or appeal the denial of a worker’s compensation claim. Depending on the type of injury, there is a six or twelve year statute of limitations for bringing or appealing the denial of a worker’s compensation claim. The time limit for bringing or appealing a claim begins from the date of injury or the date that worker’s compensation benefits were last paid to you, whichever is later.

Contact Hawks Quindel

The availability of PTD benefits is not typically advertised to injured workers by worker’s compensation insurance carriers. And, because PTD benefits are a lifetime benefit, many PTD claims are denied or disputed by insurance carriers. If you are injured and cannot return to work after your doctor assesses permanent restrictions, contact us. We at Hawks Quindel have extensive experience in dealing with worker’s compensation insurance companies and dealing with denied or improperly adjusted worker’s compensation claims. Our team of dedicated worker’s compensation lawyers can advise you of your rights, appeal denied claims, and get the maximum compensation you are entitled to under Wisconsin law.

Vanessa Kuettel

Associate Attorney at Hawks Quindel, S.C.
Attorney Vanessa Kuettel is an associate attorney in Hawks Quindel’s Madison, Wisconsin office. Her practice focuses on worker’s compensation and wage and hour law.

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