Is Permanent and Stationary the Same as Permanent Disability?

It can be extremely difficult to manage the intricacies of workers’ compensation and disability benefits, as sometimes, it can feel like wandering through a maze without a map. Some of the most confusing terms many get stuck on are the difference between Permanent and Stationary (P&S) and Permanent Disability (PD). Although they might seem similar, they might seem similar; it’s important to know the differences between the two, and how they operate in workers’ compensation cases. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between permanent and stationary disability, and permanent disability with the attorneys at Mutrux Firm.

Defining Permanent and Stationary (P&S)

Permanent and Stationary disability (P&S) is used in workers’ compensation cases to describe the medical condition of an injured worker once they have reached a stable point in their recovery. At this point, it is unlikely that their condition will continue to improve with further medical treatment, and the physician caring for the injured worker’s care determines their condition has become permanent and stable.

P&S is an interesting concept, and it marks a crucial milestone in the worker’s compensation process. Once an injured worker has been deemed P&S, it typically triggers a series of events, including the evaluation for permanent disability benefits.

Understanding Permanent Disability (PD)

Permanent disability (PD), on the other hand, refers to the lasting impairment or loss of bodily function as a result of a work-related illness or injury. A legal and medical determination must be made to assess the impact the injury had on the individual’s ability to work and function daily. Permanent disability benefits are intended to compensate workers for the loss of earning capacity and quality of life caused by their workplace injury or illness.

Different from P&S, which focuses on stability of the medical side of things, PD takes the functionality of the individual into account, and if they are able to return to work. PD considers the individual’s age, occupation, and their ability to return to work. 

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Distinguishing Between P&S and PD

While Permanent and Stationary and Permanent Disability are related concepts within the workers’ compensation framework, they serve different purposes and address distinct aspects of an injured worker’s situation.

  1. Timing: P&S typically precedes the determination of PD. It signifies that the injured worker’s medical condition has reached a stable point, prompting further evaluation for permanent disability benefits.
  2. Medical vs. Legal Assessment: P&S is primarily a medical determination made by the treating physician based on the individual’s medical condition and prognosis. In contrast, PD involves a legal and vocational assessment conducted by workers’ compensation boards, administrative law judges, or qualified evaluators to determine the extent of permanent impairment and its impact on earning capacity.
  3. Scope: While P&S focuses on the medical aspects of the injury, PD considers the broader implications for the injured worker’s ability to work and function in society. It takes into account not only the severity of the impairment but also its vocational consequences.
  4. Benefits: P&S itself does not entitle the injured worker to specific benefits. However, it serves as a prerequisite for evaluating eligibility for permanent disability benefits, which may include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, vocational rehabilitation, and impairment-related expenses.

Legal Framework and Implications

In the United States, workers’ compensation laws and regulations vary from state to state, therefore, there are quite a few differences when it comes to how P&S and PD are defined and applied. Some states have specific guidelines and formulas for calculating permanent disability benefits, while others rely on case law and judicial precedent.

Understanding the legal framework governing permanent disability assessments is crucial for both injured workers and employers. Disputes over the extent of permanent disability and the corresponding benefits can often lead to litigation and appeals, underscoring the importance of clarity and transparency in the evaluation process.

Challenges and Controversies

Determining if permanent disability is evident for an individual can be a complex process, and can be influenced by factors such as subjective judgment, conflicting medical opinions, and disparities in legal standards. Some argue that the current system may not adequately account for the diverse needs and circumstances of injured workers, leading to disparities in benefit awards and outcomes.

Moreover, the lack of uniformity across states in defining and calculating permanent disability benefits can contribute to disparities in outcomes for similarly injured individuals. Efforts to reform and standardize the workers’ compensation system have been ongoing, aimed at improving fairness, efficiency, and consistency in assessing permanent disability.

Contact Mutrux Firm Today!

If you were injured while working, and you need more information about the differences between P&S and PD, get in touch with Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers today! We have the knowledge and experience to help you when you need it most. Our attorneys know how to navigate the legal system, especially when it comes to worker’s compensation cases.

We believe everyone deserves legal counsel, even if they do not have the means to afford a lawyer. This is why our firm works on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you win. Give us a call at (888) 550-4026 or get in touch with us here for a free consultation.