Partial Disability Law and Legal Definition

Partial disability is the result of an injury which permanently impairs a person's ability to function, but still allows the person to work or participate in other activities. In worker's compensation cases, an injured worker is often awarded a percentage rating of permanent partial disability, which will entitle him/her to a money settlement. The percentage of disability compensation is often based on a physician's evaluation of what percentage of the person's normal functioning is gone.

Some states have a workers' insurance fund in which partial disability benefits are paid when an employee returns to work, or is medically able to perform currently available work as determined by an agreement or a judge's decision, but at wages which are lower than the employee's earnings prior to the injury. Partial disability may mean a person is able to perform one or more, but not all, of the material and substantial duties of their own or any other occupation on a full time or a part time basis; or able to perform all of the material and substantial duties of their own or any other occupation on a part-time basis.