If you’ve been injured on the job, you should know that Arizona recognizes three stages in an accepted workers’ compensation claim:
- Temporary total disability (TTD)
- Temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Permanent partial disability (PPD)
Each stage is based on medical decisions, and your stage may change based on your doctor’s opinion and a report provided through an independent medical examination.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary total disability means that the injured worker is temporarily, totally disabled and unable to work because of the work related injury.
A doctor must provide documentation that the injured worker is unable to work for any of the following reasons:
- Time needed to diagnose the injury without risking further injury
- Time for the injury to heal
- Any other reason that the doctor believes the injured worker is unable to perform work duties
During this stage, the employer’s insurance company will pay for all medical expenses related to the work injury so long as an approved doctor provides them. The injured worker will receive benefits for two-thirds of lost wages during this stage.
A hearing may be necessary if the insurance company disputes a worker’s TTD status.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
During this stage, the injured worker still requires medical care; however, a doctor believes that the injured worker is capable of returning to the duties of regular work or modified light duty work.
The employer’s insurance company will continue to pay all medical expenses. The injured worker will be entitled to receive two-thirds of the difference between the established average monthly wage and the wages that the injured worker is capable of earning within the medical restrictions.
The worker will likely assert that the employer doesn’t have light duty work available, and that the worker has looked for other light duty jobs without success, therefore, TTD benefits should continue to be provided. Insurance companies often counter this argument by providing evidence that the worker could have found other light duty work, and then reduce disability benefits, taking credit for wages for any claims the worker was able to earn.
As one might expect, this issue is often litigated and having an attorney during the claim process will be very beneficial. Checks must be disbursed at least every 30 days during this stage.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
This means that a doctor believes that the injured worker has received maximum benefit from medical treatment and that additional treatment will not provide additional improvement to the permanent injury.
This will result in the case being closed from further active medical care, even though the worker suffers a permanent disability as a result of the work related accident. In the event of a serious injury, there may be a permanent disability award through a permanent impairment rating.
Importance of an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney
Regardless of where you’re at in your workers’ compensation claim, it’s important to understand each stage and beneficial to have an experienced attorney by your side when disputes arise.