At the end of healing, TTD benefits stop. If there is a permanent disability, then PPD or permanent partial disability benefits in Wisconsin workers compensation law are payable. Permanent disability benefits in workers compensation are designed to compensate an injured worker for future loss of earnings. PPD benefits are based on a the percentage of disability assigned by a doctor, and in serious unscheduled cases, a vocational expert. PPD benefits accrue weekly after temporary disability benefits stop and are based on the average weekly wage determined on the date of injury. The permanent partial disability (PPD) benefit rate is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage, but not more than the statutory maximum PPD rate on the date of injury.
Unless one is permanently, totally disabled, a permanent physical impairment that is less than total, is either scheduled or nonscheduled. Generally speaking, scheduled injuries are those to the arms (including shoulders) and legs (most hip injuries), ears and eyes; nonscheduled injuries are to the head, neck, back and abdomen, as well as systemic diseases. Psychological injuries are nonscheduled.
The State of Wisconsin statutes, Wis. Stats. Sec. 102.52 and the Department of Workforce Development or the workers comp department, has administrative rules to determine scheduled impairment. For scheduled injuries, no loss of earning capacity is available. However, scheduled injuries can form the basis of a retraining claim if restrictions prevent a return to work defined by law. Keep in mind, if a scheduled injury causes a nonscheduled disability, there is an argument for loss of earning capacity as a nonscheduled disability. There are also guidelines to help with unscheduled permanent disability, but the actual permanent restrictions, not the percentage of disability assigned, usually determine the disability. Preexisting disabling elements must be subtracted by the doctor, but this should always have been implicit if we are talking about work-related disability to a specific traumatic date of injury or occupational exposure date of injury.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office attorneys work hard to get permanent partial disability ratings from treating doctors. Our office primarily works on nonscheduled cases, but may handle a scheduled injury if it is in conjunction with an unscheduled claim. Scheduled disability permanent restrictions can be added to nonscheduled disability permanent restrictions toward a permanent total disability claim, but not a loss of earning capacity claim. Care must be exercised in ferreting out the particular injuries and the nature of the permanent restrictions so as to ascertain the correct loss of earnings or total disability involved. At times the doctor or surgeon should be provided with the relevant administrative code explaining disability ratings as well as any pre-existing records to differentiate out a prior unrelated disability.