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Workers’ Compensation Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

Workers’ Compensation Permanent Partial Disability Benefits

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation statute provides for four types of benefits that can be paid to people that were injured while on the job:

  1. Wage loss benefits,

  2. Medical benefits,

  3. Vocational rehabilitation benefits,

  4. Permanent partial disability benefits.

The fourth of these benefits, permanent partial disability, is a monetary benefit paid by an insurer to account for actual or functional loss of a body part. When a worker suffers a specific type of injury, that person’s treating physician assigns them a rating that is meant to represent the percentage of that person's body that is now disabled. In reality, that rating is simply a number that is plugged into a formula which determines the amount of the monetary benefit received by an injured person that has suffered a permanent injury.

Almost every injury or procedure that can occur during a work injury scenario has a specific rating. All a doctor needs to do, perhaps with the help of the injured workers attorney, is look up the rating that corresponds to the worker’s injury and or procedure performed to cure the effects of the injury. The list of conditions and their corresponding rating appears at Minnesota Rule 5223.

For example, let’s say an injured worker suffers a lumbar spine injury and cannot seem to shake the pain in her low back. An MRI showed a damaged disc at just one level of the spine, L5-S1. The treating physician determines that she suffers from a permanent injury to her low back with continuing symptoms of pain in that area. This exact scenario is cover under Minnesota Rule 5223.0390 Subp. 3(C)(1);

C. Symptoms of pain or stiffness in the region of the lumbar spine, substantiated by persistent objective clinical findings, that is, involuntary muscle tightness in the paralumbar muscles or decreased range of motion in the lumbar spine, and with any radiographic, myelographic, CT scan, or MRI scan abnormality not specifically addressed elsewhere in this part:

(1) single vertebral level, seven percent;

The statute assigns such an injury a rating of seven percent. This can be modified if there is additional treatment provided to the injured worker, such as surgeries, or injuries arising as a direct consequence of the first injury.

Once we know the rating of the injury, we can then check the Disability Schedule, a chart which assigns monetary value to particular injury ratings. Continuing with our worker with the injured lower back, we must find the amount matching her seven percent disability rating. 

The schedule assigns $84,000 as the amount for ratings between 5.5% and 10.5%. However, this doesn’t mean that the worker with a 7% disability is going to receive $84,000. Once you find the amount that matches up with the injury rating, you must multiply that amount by the specific percentage assigned to the injured worker.

  • $84,000 * 7% = $5,880

So, a 7% disability rating results in a payment of $5,880.

Let’s try it again. Let’s say someone has a single injury with a 44% rating. 44% in the schedule corresponds to $136,500.

  • $136,500.00 * 44% = $60,060.00.

That’s a brief overview of how a permanent partial disability payment will work if you happen to find yourself injured on the job. If you think you’ve been permanently injured, you need to inform your doctor.


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