Under New York law, permanent total disability, or PTD, refers to the benefit to which an employee is entitled if he or she is permanently and totally disabled from the ability to work. PTD can also refer to the disability itself.
A PTD benefit is usually only paid if the employee is unable to work at his or her previous position, or any occupation for which he or she is suited by experience, education or training. Injured employees can collect permanent total disability payments from their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance whether or not the employee files a personal injury lawsuit.
If the employer or another party caused the worker’s disability, he or she may take legal action regardless of any PTD benefits he or she may be receiving.
Under New York law, pain and suffering refers to “physical or mental distress” for which one can seek damages in a civil lawsuit. The complainant must show that the defendant’s negligence caused the pain and suffering, in order to win such a suit.
Pain and Suffering and Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury case, certain losses are documented dollar amounts, such as medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering can beboth more difficult to define andto quantify.
UnderNew York personal injury law, all physical and emotional pain that results from injuries caused by the defendant’s negligence is compensable. This may include:
- Pain from the actual injury
- Pain resulting fromsurgery made necessary by your injuries
- Chronic and future painfrom the injuries sustained
- Pain of physical therapy or other rehabilitation
- Worry or other mental anguish from the accident, injuries or your uncertainty about the future
Pain and suffering is a loss of your enjoyment of life. This is a compensable loss in a civil suit, just as lost wages are.
A permanent partial disability, or PPD, benefit, is an amount set by law. An employer’s worker’s compensation policy pays this benefit to an employee who suffers the permanent partial disability. The amount varies dependent on the disability itself.
A victim who has sustained an incomplete, but permanent, disability may qualify for benefits as set by New York state law. An injury victim collecting a PPD benefit may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party, whether or not that party is the employer.
Examples of Permanent Partial Disabilities
Permanent partial disabilities include a range of conditions, such as:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Partial loss of limb or extremity
- Loss of bladder or bowel function
An employee may qualify for a PPD benefit even if he or she is still able to work.
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit after an injury, the term “disability” may figure prominently in your case. Under New York law, a disability is the inability to engage in “substantial gainful activity” because of a physical or mental impairment.
The gainful activity referred to is not limited to work. Your enjoyment of hobbies, sports or other activities, particularly those in which you engaged before your injuries, are included in the classification.
For example, if a construction worker loses an arm in an accident, he or she can no longer work in that field. This is a disability. The gainful activity in this case is work.
In another example, a medical transcription clerk suffers a 50 percent hearing loss. The clerk also plays cello in the local community symphony. While her office job is not affected, she finds she can no longer hear the other musicians well enough to play. The gainful activity in this case is her hobby of playing music with a group; the hearing loss is a disability.
Endangerment, under New York law, means to behave in a way that puts others at risk of harm such as injury or death. Endangerment refers to conduct that’s reckless or careless; behavior that’s likely to cause bodily harm to another person.
Examples of Endangerment
An example of endangerment would be a motorist driving above the speed limit, particularly in inclement weather. An important point is that a person who endangers someone doesn’t have to intend to put others at risk of harm. The driver in this example probably doesn’t mean any harm—but that doesn’t make speeding down the highway in heavy rain any less likely to cause an accident.