What should you do if you have a partial disability? And what does it mean to have a partial disability? If you're dealing with a partial disability and work restrictions, here are some tips from experienced attorneys to help you. But first, you’ll need a clear understanding of what a partial disability is. 

What Is a Partial Disability?

Partial disabilities are a common form of disability. The exact definition can vary, but they are often defined as a disability in which the worker is not completely disabled and is still able to function at work, but not at full capacity. Your doctor will usually place a series of work restrictions upon you which may limit your ability to perform your, or other, work activity. 

A worker with a partial disability has lost some ability to earn wages and do normal, daily activities. However, he or she may still be able to perform work that is less rigorous, such as a part-time job or lighter duties in comparison to his or her former position.

What’s the Difference Between Total Disability and Partial Disability?

Workers’ compensation is a complicated system that provides benefits to injured or disabled workers. There are two main levels of disability in workers’ compensation. One is a total disability when a worker cannot earn any wages, at any job, and his or her daily activities are nil. The other is a partial disability which usually entails some lost abilities but does not necessarily mean an inability to do all work. These generate different entitlements to benefit amounts and come with different obligations to stay entitled to those.

Common Injuries That Cause Partial Disability

Permanent partial disability can happen as the result of many different types of injuries. 

The following list includes some examples:

  • back injuries;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • amputation of a body part;
  • hearing loss;
  • vision damage;
  • knee injury;
  • nerve damage;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What You Should Do if You Have a Partial Disability

If you have a partial disability, you must still look for and accept the work you can do. You could lose your benefits if you fail to make a good faith effort to return to work. This is called Voluntary Withdrawal from the Labor Market. To avoid this, you should: 

  1. Contact your employer to see if you can return to your job with the restrictions your doctor has placed on you. 
  2. Let your employer know if you need any changes so that you can do your job, and ask if you can have some other responsibilities to ease your return to work. 
  3. If they cannot accommodate you, begin looking for work elsewhere that you are qualified to perform, and is within your restrictions.
  4. Engage in retraining efforts with the Department of Labor or other vocational services.

If your wages are reduced on your return to work because of your disability, you may be eligible for a “reduced earnings” benefit.

Do You Need an Attorney to Receive a Settlement for Partial Disability?

You don’t technically need an attorney to help you seek a settlement. However, insurance companies often have their own interests at heart, which means they may try to reduce or even deny your permanent partial disability claim. 

Attorneys at Zea Proukou PLLC offer skilled legal representation on Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability claims, Supplemental Security Income, Children’s SSI, and Adult Disabled Children. We’re a trusted law firm with locations in Rochester and Canandaigua, NY, and have over 50 combined years’ experience helping injured workers with their claims. Whatever your injury, we help you get the answers you need with the quality representation you expect. Contact the law firm of Zea Proukou PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.