Our previous articles in this blog series on permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits in Georgia workers’ compensation cases provided a general overview of permanent partial disability benefits and discussed when these benefits are paid and for how long. This article will discuss whether accepting permanent partial disability benefits settles your workers’ compensation case. It will also discuss how you can contest a permanent partial disability rating when you believe the rating was incorrect.
Will Cashing A Permanent Partial Disability Check End My Case?
While permanent partial disability benefits are sometimes paid in a lump sum by your employer or your employer’s insurance company, acceptance of that permanent partial disability check does not settle or end your case. In order to settle your workers’ compensation case in Georgia, you would need to sign paperwork agreeing to settle your case for a certain amount of money. Also, that settlement paperwork would have to be approved by a judge at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
When the insurance company pays you a check for permanent partial disability benefits, they are simply paying you something they owe you under the law. Settlement is different and involves an agreement to give up your case in exchange for money (if you have questions about settlement, our blog series about settlement may be helpful to you). Although acceptance of this check will not settle your case, it is important to remember that there may very well be time limits (called statutes of limitation) that affect how long you have to pursue additional benefits in your workers’ compensation case. Determining how long you have to pursue benefits for being out of work, medical treatment, or additional permanent partial disability benefits can be complicated. If you have questions, we recommend that you contact one of our attorneys who specializes in workers’ compensation for a free consultation.
Contesting an Incorrect Permanent Partial Disability Rating
Another concern that people have about accepting permanent partial disability benefits is that they believe that the disability rating may be incorrect. They also believe that accepting the check that the insurance company sends them for those benefits may mean that they legally agree with the rating. It is important to understand that you can still disagree with the permanent partial disability rating the doctor gave you even if you accept some or all of checks that the insurance company pays you.
Generally, the way that you would contest the amount of a PPD rating is by filing a Form WC-14 requesting a hearing in front of a workers’ compensation administrative law judge. If you are considering requesting a hearing, we would highly recommend that you have a free consultation with an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law before doing so. Without an attorney, it can be difficult to prove your case in court. You can get a free consultation with one of our attorneys by completing and submitting our free consultation request form or calling our office at (770) 214-8885.