Permanent and Total Disability (PTD) benefits provide wage loss benefits paid at two-thirds of the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage, for the employee’s life. Due to changes in the law, these claims have become exceedingly rare in Louisiana. The Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act provides for PTD in La. R. S. Title 23:1221(2), which states an employee is PTD if injuries and/or disabilities are so severe that he or she cannot engage in any employment or self-employment, regardless of its nature or character. This means no self, part-time, odd-lot, or sheltered employment--and most importantly, any employment while working in pain. Basically, if you are working at all, or you employer can prove you can do any job, then you are not PTD under the law.
It gets worse. Even if you are not working, the statute goes on to place the burden on you to prove by clear and convincing evidence, you are physically unable to engage in any employment. Even if you are currently getting TTD Benefits or Supplemental Earnings Benefits, it is not proof enough of your inability to engage in employment activity. Further still, before a judge will award you PTD benefits, it must be established you cannot be re-trained or otherwise rehabilitated after a vocational assessment.
There a few injuries and disabilities that provide almost automatic PTD benefits. If you suffer one of a few enumerated injuries, the burden will shift to your employer to prove you can work. These injuries include: loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or one hand and one foot, or any two of these appendages, or is a paraplegic or quadriplegic. These are serious injuries, and in most cases, will render an employee so impaired that the employer will not fight much on disability status. If they choose to dispute PTD of an employee suffering one of the above conditions, they must prove conclusively that the employee has substantial earning power--which is a tall order.
Contact Our Baton Rouge Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
If not for the “automatic” cases, PTD cases seem daunting. It generally takes collaborative work with experts, such as vocational rehab counselors and therapists that conduct functional capacity exams and labor market surveys on your behalf. The insurance company will have their own experts, which is why it is essential you enlist in a Baton Rouge workers’ compensation attorney--such as our team at J. David Smith, Attorney at Law. PTD cases are challenging, because the stakes are high for both sides. However, with the right plan and good facts, PTD benefits can be won.
Schedule an initial consultation with our firm by calling (866) 712-2667.