Injured workers may qualify for several types of workers’ compensation benefits, including temporary total disability benefits. These benefits are awarded to workers who are temporarily unable to perform any type of work as a result of their injuries. Since they are unable to work, temporarily disabled workers are entitled to these benefits to make up for their lost wages. How long will temporary total disability benefits continue? Here’s what you should know:
When Will Temporary Total Disability Benefits End?
Temporary total disability benefits will typically continue until the injured worker is able to perform some type of work. The law previously stated that temporary total disability benefits could not continue for more than 104 weeks. However, a new law was passed this year that changed the maximum number of weeks from 104 to 156. Therefore, if the injury occurred after May 28, 2019, the victim is entitled to up to 156 weeks of temporary total disability benefits.
Exceptions to the Time Limits on Temporary Total Disability Benefits
There are several exceptions to the limit on temporary total disability benefits. An administrative law judge may agree to extend these benefits for an additional 52 weeks if the injured worker suffers a consequential injury and needs more time to recover.
For example, let’s say you are awarded these benefits for a work-related left knee injury. Favoring your left knee to manage the pain could injure other parts of the body such as the right hip or knee. This would be a consequential injury since it occurred as a result of the initial work-related injury. If this happens to you, an administrative law judge may extend your temporary total disability benefits to give your consequential injury time to heal.
There is also an exception that applies to workers who have not reached maximum medical improvement at 156 weeks. An injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement when a doctor determines that his condition will not improve any further in the future.
In Gillispie v. Estes, the judge ruled that injured workers can continue to receive temporary total disability benefits if their doctor concludes that they have not reached their maximum medical improvement at the end of the temporary total disability period. This ruling ensures that workers in this situation will continue to receive benefits until they have reached maximum medical improvement and are ready to be evaluated for permanent disability.
Have you suffered a work-related injury? If so, contact the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. as soon as possible. We are committed to helping injured workers fight for the temporary and permanent disability benefits they deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.