Permanent Total Disability
With offices in Columbia, attorneys at Lear Werts LLP help permanently and totally disabled workers throughout Missouri receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. If you are completely unable to work due to a permanent disability, we can help you procure the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law.
Eligibility for Permanent Total Disability
Under the Missouri Workers' Compensation Law, the term "total disability" means that an employee is unable to return to "any employment" and not merely "the employment in which the employee was engaged in at the time of the accident". Courts interpret an inability to return to "any employment" to mean that after considering the manner that duties are customarily performed by the average person holding such a job, the employee is unable to perform the usual duties of employment. However, Missouri courts have found that a claimant who is "only able to work very limited hours at rudimentary tasks" is totally and permanently disabled. Therefore, you do not have to be completely inactive or immobile to be considered permanently and totally disabled. Rather, the issue is whether any employer in the usual course of business would reasonably be expected to employ you in your physical condition.
In order to prove to the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission that you are permanently and totally disabled, you must present substantial evidence. Our attorneys have extensive experience building successful PTD claims. Furthermore, we understand that other elements may affect the amount of your benefit award. For example, along with documentary evidence and witness testimony, the Labor Commission and the Division of Workers' Compensation may also consider other factors such as:
- Academic record and work history
- Vocational experts' testimony
- Written evaluations regarding a claimant's ability to compete for employment in the open labor market
As our client, you can be sure that we will consider every factor that may impact the amount of your benefit award.
The Extent of Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If you qualify for PTD benefits, you may receive weekly payments for your lifetime, or you may negotiate a lump-sum settlement amount. Our attorneys can help you determine which option best fits your needs and those of your family. The amount of the weekly payment amount is based upon two-thirds of your average weekly earnings at the time of the injury, not to exceed a maximum amount set by Missouri law. This maximum amount is generally much higher than the maximum amount set for permanent partial disability. Therefore, if a case may be made that your injury has led to a permanent and total disability, we will help you make that case.
Seek Experienced Representation
Our attorneys understand that the complete inability to work can have a devastating impact on your way of life, affecting not only your ability to support yourself and your family but also your emotional wellbeing. Therefore, with every claim, we strive to help our clients receive the maximum benefit amount to which they are entitled. If you may be eligible for PTD benefits or have any questions regarding workers' compensation, please contact Lear Werts LLP for a free initial consultation.