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Permanent partial disability (permanent disability NJ) benefits an injured worker who did not completely recover from an on-the-job accident. It is payment for the functional loss of a body part. A loss is reflected by the objective medical evidence of a material lessening of workability or activities of daily life.
The vast majority of cases involving permanency in NJ Workers Comp Court settle for an award of permanent partial total disability. “Partial total” means that you are less than 100% disabled. The focus of this page is on those cases which seek a settlement or judicial decision of less than total disability.
The issue of permanency generally arises after a physician declares the injured worker at MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement). There is also a 26-week waiting period after MMI or return to work (whichever is earlier) before the evaluation for permanency.
To qualify for an award of permanent partial disability, the injured worker must show a functional loss of a body part. Both parties in the case typically send the injured worker for separate medical exams and get reports. These reports detail the nature and extent of the injury. Further, the reports should opine on the current symptoms of the injured worker. These experts are also available to testify at trial, if necessary.
Helping hands protecting the injured worker

Workers Comp Permanency Award - A Must Know

A permanency award compensates an employee. That is an employee injured in a workplace accident suffering a permanent functional loss of a body part (or parts) due to an on-the-job accident. Workers need to know about this benefit. Insurance companies are not a good source to get information on this award.
Workers are often unaware of work injury benefits. A case may proceed with the provision of medical treatment and the appropriate payment of wage benefits. After Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) an unknowing injured worker can waive this benefit. 

What Is The Process To Obtain A Permanency Award?

The process to obtain a permanency award sounds deceptively simple. That is, the injured worker must show:
  • Objective medical evidence relating to a functional loss of a body part.
  • Material impact on working ability or activities of daily life.


Both parties typically hire medical experts to write a report on the extent of any disability that is permanent. This disability is expressed as a percentage. One can imagine these reports varying in terms of the percentages assigned. The parties either do one of two things. First, negotiate a settlement based upon the reports and other evidence. Or second, proceed to trial for a judicial determination.
An injured worker should never feel pressured to settle a case. Instead, they should made the decision in consultation with a New Jersey work injury lawyer. One qualified to assess the case and provide meaningful guidance to the injured worker.

How To Calculate a Permanency Award?

The monetary amounts for permanency awards update annually. The award is limited, however, by the average weekly rate of the injured worker. The injured worker cannot receive more than 70% of his or her average weekly rate. Your average weekly salary is important.  
The State of New Jersey also sets a maximum and minimum limit, adjusted yearly, for the payment of a permanency award. The injured worker cannot receive more than or less than the amounts outlined in the chart below. The chart below outlines the yearly maximum and minimum rates for permanency awards.
NJ Workman comp permanent disability rates

Permanent Partial Disability Chart

New Jersey Workers Compensation relies on a chart of disability rates published annually. Often referred to as the workers comp settlement charts. The charts provide varying levels of an award based upon the year of injury and the severity of the injury. The rate is expressed as a percentage and paid over the course of weeks.  
Click the link below for disability charts for the last five years:
New Jersey has two types of permanency awards as reflected on the disability chart:
            Scheduled Losses are numerous body parts referenced on the Chart of Disability. They are  referred to as statutory body parts and are:
  • Hand
  • Arm
  • Fingers (Thumb, First, Second, Third, Fourth)
  • Leg
  • Foot
  • Toes (Great Toe, Other Toe)
  • Eye
  • Hearing (1 Ear or 2 Ears)
              Non-Scheduled Losses are all other body parts. They include major body parts such as the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine. The shoulders, head, and hip are also included as a non-scheduled loss. The rates for this section provide 6 weeks of benefits for every 1% of functional loss (expressed as a percentage). The right side of the chart contains the partial total column.  
The Chart of Disability reflects the functional loss of a body part in terms of a percentage. This percentage is further expressed by the number of weeks corresponding to the percentage. Depending on your weekly rate, the permanency award is then expressed in a weekly benefit amount. In short, the total number of weeks (duration of award) controls the total amount of permanency benefits received. Your award increases as the total number of weeks increases.
An illustration of the most basic award underlying the Permanent Partial Disability Chart follows:
On the job accident in 2020 resulted in a weekly injured worker suffering torn rotator cuff in their right shoulder. The average weekly rate of the worker is $900.00 (70% is 630.00). The permanent Partial Disability Chart for the year 2020 is applicable. The parties negotiate a resolution of the case requesting a Judge of Compensation to approve a settlement of 25% of permanent partial disability.

                             Permanent Partial Disability Award:  25%

                             Gross monetary award: $43,128.00

                             Weeks of Benefits: 150 weeks

                             Permanent Partial Disability Rate:  $287.52

                             287.52 x 150 = $43,128.00

Permanent Partial Disability Settlement Calculator

New Jersey maintains a permanent partial disability settlement calculator. The calculator assists in the calculation of an award of permanency. This tool can be used to assist in settlement negotiations to educate the injured worker on the specific amount of money associated with offers and counteroffers.  
Oscar is the name of the tool. The tool is designed for use by legal professionals and judiciary staff. Attorneys frequently use the settlement calculator as a guide for discussion of settlement amounts and payout rates with clients.
If there is a discrepancy between the chart of disability and the Oscar calculation then the Judge of Compensation is directed to use the results of an Oscar calculation.

A New Jersey Work Injury Attorney Can Guide You To A Successful Outcome

Your case is unique. An award of permanency must reflect the individual facts and circumstances of the case.  Your disability rating must be accurate.
The charts and calculator are tools for use in a skillful manner. As the American writer Merlin Mann commented: “Ultimately, the tools that we choose for any purpose will only be as useful as our ability to use them effectively.” An experienced and hardworking Comp attorney adept with the skills to use all available tools can serve you well in navigating the system. Last but not least, our contact number is (856) 596-8000.

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