If you sustain an injury that prevents you from performing your job, your employer’s insurance company likely has to pay you workers’ compensation benefits. Before the company will disperse your first check, however, you must undergo an examination by an employer-provided medical professional who will determine the nature and extent of your injuries. They will then classify it in one of four ways to help the insurer decide to how much compensation you are entitled and for how long. In this post, we’ll help you understand Temporary Total Disability (TTD) in workers’ compensation cases.
At Coogan Gallagher, our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys are prepared to help you understand your rights under the law. Contact us today to request a consultation.
Workers’ compensation law is designed to ensure injured parties can receive compensation for harms sustained at work without having to undergo intense scrutiny—and without having to prove fault. In exchange for these guaranteed benefits, employees give up their rights to file a third-party lawsuit for damages.
That said, workers’ comp cases do not always resolve themselves without conflict. One commonly contested aspect of these cases is the disability determination. There are four types of determinations:
If your appointed medical professional classified your injury as TTD, you may wonder what the means for your case. Let’s take a closer look.
If you receive a TTD determination, it is because your medical doctor feels that you cannot perform your job during the recovery period but that you will be able to return to work eventually. In addition to determining the extent of your injuries, your appointed doctor will also give your employer and your employer’s insurer an estimated timeframe of when you can return to work. During the recovery period, you will receive benefits for lost wages.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies and employers to contest TTD determinations, with many arguing that the injured parties are capable of performing some type of work despite the injuries. If your employer or their insurer contests your TTD determination, the insurance company would request the opinion of a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME). The QME would perform an examination and provide their opinions regarding the extent and nature of your injuries.
Though the amount you receive in weekly benefits depends on your status as a worker—are you an hourly worker, salaried employee, or do you work on a per diem basis—in general, TTD payments would equal roughly two-thirds of your average weekly earnings.
However, Illinois, like most states, imposes both a weekly minimum and a weekly maximum. The weekly maximum is $1,506.81 regardless of what your average weekly earnings total. The minimum depends on your number of dependents and can range from $220 to $330.
In an ideal situation, your TTD benefits would end when a medical professional deems you fully recovered. However, as treatment progresses, your doctor may decide that the nature and extent of your injuries are more permanent in nature, and that you will never be able to return to the same capacity of work. At this point, your doctor may determine you have reached a state of maximum medical improvement (MMI), and your TTD benefits will stop. You will then begin to receive permanent total disability benefits.
Even if your doctor does not change your status to MMI, your temporary total disability benefits will cease after two years. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as in cases in which the work-related injury involves HIV, amputations, eye injuries, and lung disease.
If your employer or the insurer contests your disability determination, you may have difficulty recovering the benefits to which you are entitled. A disputed case is the last thing you need to deal with at this difficult time in your life. As soon as you receive word of a dispute, reach out to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer for legal assistance and guidance.
Contact Coogan Gallagher today to request a free consultation.