The workers’ compensation adjuster just sent me a check for a disability rating. Does this mean my case is settled?

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If you are paid a workers’ comp check for a disability rating, it does not mean your case is settled. When you receive workers’ compensation benefits in Georgia and/or you are being treated by a workers’ compensation doctor after a workplace injury, eventually you may reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once you reach MMI, your doctor may then give you a permanent partial disability (PPD) rating. This is a percentage based on American Medical Association (“AMA”) guidelines.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point in the worker’s treatment where their doctor determines that the injury or medical condition will not further improve. Although it could mean that the worker is completely healed, it could also mean that whatever the condition is at that point is as good as it will ever get. Before designating MMI, the doctor should have tried all means of treatment available.

What is a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)?

Permanent partial disability (PPD) are benefits paid to people who are not completely disabled but who have a permanent injury. PPD payments are not usually made until a person has reached MMI as determined by their doctor.

How are PPD benefits decided?

The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act provides formulas that assign amounts of compensation due when a doctor gives the worker a PPD rating, and it’s based on where they were injured and their workers’ compensation rate. OCGA 34-9-263 provides the breakdown.

Is a PPD workers’ comp check a settlement?

When a worker is paid a PPD rating, it does not mean their case is settled. They can return to work if the doctor so releases them, and they can keep getting medical care from the workers’ compensation insurance company doctors if necessary.

While the PPD rating may result in a single lump sum payment that may feel like a settlement, if it was an offer of settlement it would include a document that is several pages long called a “stipulation”. The stipulation would clearly indicate that the workers’ comp claim has been settled.

If you have questions about an offer to settle your workers’ compensation claim in Georgia or about your PPD rating, feel free to contact the Atlanta injury attorneys at Moebes Law.



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