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Definition of Total Disability

Total disability is a term that is used in insurance law to refer to an injury which impairs the physical and/or mental ability of a person to the extent that they are never again able to resume their normal non-occupational or work activities. Absolute physical disability or total helplessness is not a requirement for being classified as totally disabled. In regard to workers' compensation, total disability refers to a worker who is unable to work in their own or any occupation for which they are suited by education, experience or training.

For workers' compensation, total disability may be either temporary or permanent. Temporary total disability, TTD, is when a worker has sustained a work-related injury or illness that temporarily keeps them from being able to do any kind of work. Temporary total disability means that a worker is expected to fully recover and be able to go back to work. Permanent total disability, PTD, is when a worker's disability that is the result of a work-related injury or illness is expected to be permanent. The worker is not expected to recover from their injury or illness. While laws regarding permanent total disability and the definition of permanent total disability vary from state to state, in most instances, it does not mean a total inability to do any type of work.

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