Generally, if an injured worker received a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) award for an injury and is then later found to be Permanently Totally Disabled (PTD) due to the same injury, the Department may recover payments made on the PPD award from the PTD award. However, a worker who is injured and is later found to be permanently and totally disabled (PTD) is entitled to a full pension, even if that injured worker had previously received a permanent partial disability (PPD) award from a prior, unrelated industrial injury.
In a recently published opinion( Michael L. Sims v. Department of Labor and Industries), the Court of Appeals determined that if an injured worker is found to be permanently totally disabled, they are not entitled to a permanent partial disability award for a subsequent injury.
The Court of Appeals found that the effective date of PTD is the determinative date for deciding what benefits an injured worker is entitled to under any subsequent injury claims and not the date of the Department’s decision to classify a worker as PTD. Since the injured worker in the Sims case had been classified as PTD starting at a time prior to sustaining the second injury, the Court decided that the Department’s order that denied Mr. Sims additional PPD benefits under his second claim was correct. For more information regarding PPD and PTD, please contact us for a free consultation.