Are You Eligible for Permanent Total Disability Compensation?
There are occasions when an injured worker is receiving temporary total disability compensation but believes he or she is actually permanently and totally disabled (PTD). The question becomes "How long should I stay on temporary total before I file for permanent total disability compensation?" The answer depends on several factors.
Will the Application be Successful if Filed Now?
First, a determination needs to be made as to whether an application for permanent total disability compensation would be successful if filed at the particular time, or whether additional treatment and time off work (TTD - temporary total disability) would serve as further proof of PTD at a later date. In order to be declared permanently and totally disabled, the medical evidence needs to show that the allowed conditions in the injured worker's claim permanently preclude the worker from performing any form of sustained remunerative employment. This is a broad determination and includes not only the injured workers' former position of employment but ALL forms of employment.
Does the Attending Physician Certify Permanency?
A second determination is whether it is within the injured worker's attending physician's opinion that the allowed conditions in the claim have become "permanent". Permanency is synonymous with maximum medical improvement (MMI), a treatment plateau at which no further functional or physiological improvement can be expected despite ongoing medical treatment. If the attending physician will certify permanency and also an inability to perform any form of sustained remunerative employment, then an application for PTD can be filed.
Should I Apply for PTD While Receiving TTD?
A third consideration is whether the injured worker should allow the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to find MMI, allow a C-84 Temporary Total form to expire, or file for PTD while he or she is still receiving TTD. There are potential conflicts in filing for PTD while the injured worker is receiving TTD. Pursuing PTD while receiving TTD causes the attending physician to provide contradictory opinions. If the physician is certifying TTD then, by definition, the injured worker is not "permanent" and has not reached MMI. On the other hand, by certifying PTD, the physician is contradicting his or her C-84 Temporary Total certification. Another factor complicating this scenario is that the Industrial Commission of Ohio is statutorily prohibited from awarding an injured worker PTD if the injured worker has not reached MMI. That law is set forth in Ohio Adm.Code 4121-3-34(D)(1)(f).
There are many other considerations as to the timing of filing for PTD, including whether the injured worker has attempted or completed vocational rehabilitation before pursuing PTD. In order to make the best decision for your particular case, you should call us to discuss your situation in detail. 614-221-1300.