Impairment Rating

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What is a permanent impairment rating? An impairment rating is a number in the form of a percentage assigned to you because of your work injury. It is based upon the AMA, which is short for the American Medical Association guides to permanent impairment ratings. The AMA guides is a book written by a group of doctors from throughout the country that assigns numbers to different types of work injuries. If you have what we call a scheduled member injury, which is an injury to your hand, arm, leg, foot, eye are hearing loss, then generally the impairment rating is the only factor in determining the amount of money you will receive for permanent disability. For example, if you have an arm injury, and receive a 10% impairment rating, you would generally receive 10th percent of the value of an arm. If your entire arm was gone, then you would receive 250 weeks of permanent benefits. But if you sustained a 10% disability to your arm, then you would receive 10% times 250 weeks or 25 weeks of permanent benefits. There are exceptions to this rule, such as if you qualify for the second injury fund, or also have sustained a permanent unscheduled member injury, like depression, anxiety, or other injuries, which I will now talk about. An unscheduled member injury or what we call sometimes an industrial injury includes injuries to your back, neck, brain, shoulder, mental health injuries like depression and anxiety, nerve injuries such as crps, which stands for complex regional pain syndrome, or RSD, which stands for reflex sympathetic dystrophy or respiratory or circulation injuries like occupational asthma, or ranade syndrome. Then your impairment rating is only one of many factors, including your lifting and activity restrictions, loss, wages, age, education, along with many other factors. All of these factors will determine what your industrial disability is. For example, if you have sustained a back injury, and have a permanent impairment rating of 10%, and also permanent restrictions, which limits your ability to work, then you may receive 20, 30, 40% or more in permanent industry disability based upon a percentage of 500 weeks. If you are considered permanently totally disabled, which means that your work injuries prohibit you from returning to any gainful employment, then you can receive a weekly check for the rest of your life. Usually there is a significant difference in the amount of compensation you will receive if you sustained a scheduled member injury compared to an unschedule member injury or industrial injury. Also, please keep in mind that in some cases, there are potentially other benefits available, such as penalty benefits, or other benefits if you are injured due to the gross negligence of a co-employee, or the fault or negligence of another person or corporation. Therefore, you should seek legal advice concerning the specific facts in your case.​

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.