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St. Louis Work Injury Attorney Explains Permanent Partial Disability And Permanent Total Disability

Jan. 5, 2009

As a Missouri and Illinois “work comp” attorney, I have reached thousands of settlements on behalf of “claimants” (Missouri) and “petitioners” (Illinois) . Many claimants and/or petitioners will often compare their settlements to other injured employees when a comparison may not be appropriate. It is important to first understand that there are two types of “permanant disability” settlements under the Missouri and Illinois Workers’ Compensation laws. A “permanant partial disability” settlement is based on the injured worker being able to “compete for employment” in the “open labor market”. These settlements are based on the injured employee being able to earn a livelhood, even if it is in a diminished capacity. llinois has some “wage differential” provisions which can enhance the value of an employee’s case where the employee has a “diminished earning capacity”. Missouri has no similar provisions which take into account “lost earning capacity” , but “Missouri Workers’ Compensation Administrative Law Judges” will generally be sympathetic and will usually take into the claimant’s circumstances.”Illinois Arbitrators”, however, can directly consider lost earning capacity. On the otherhand, Permanant total disability means that the injured worker cannot compete for employment in the open labor market. As attorneys representing “total disability” clients, we will usually also file for Social Security Disablity on their behalf. In the vast majority of these cases , our clients will be adjudicated as being totally disabled under both systems. Oftentimes we will try to settle Permanant total Disability cases in Missouri and Illinois “work comp” cases in order to avoid a potential “offset” reduction in “Social Security Disability” benifits. Ask your attorney to explain the potential settlement value of your case versus letting a judge decide and whether you may have a “Social Security offset” problem .You may also ask your attorney whether you may benifit from “vocational rehabilitation” if you cannot return to your former employment. Submitted by Jeff Swaney FREE CONSULTATION (314) 310-8373