Impairment ratings in workers’ compensation claims quantify the degree of permanent impairment resulting from a work-related injury or illness. It is a way to assess the extent and severity of an injured worker’s impairment resulting from a workplace injury. For context, an impairment is defined as “a significant deviation, loss or loss of use of any body structure or body function in an individual with a health condition, disorder or disease.”
Your impairment rating will determine the benefits you are entitled to receive. But how are these ratings arrived at, and how do they impact workers’ compensation claims? Here is a more detailed explanation.
How impairment ratings are determined
Impairment ratings are determined through a comprehensive medical evaluation performed by a qualified physician. This is typically done once an individual has reached the maximum medical improvement, meaning their condition is unlikely to improve with or without medical treatment.
Several factors come into play, influencing the resulting impairment rating. They include:
- The nature and extent of the injury
- The impact of the injury on the individual’s physical or mental functioning
- The potential for rehabilitation or improvement
- Any permanent limitations or restrictions imposed by the injury
Once the evaluation is complete, the physician assigns an impairment rating using standardized guidelines or criteria. The rating is usually expressed as a percentage, indicating the degree of impairment relative to the whole person.
Protect your interests after a catastrophic workplace accident
Navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation claims, especially when it comes to impairment ratings, can be a challenging and often contentious process. Disputes over the accuracy of impairment ratings are commonplace, given the impact on the benefits an injured worker receives.
Seeking legal guidance can help you understand the implications of your impairment rating, appeal an unfair rating and protect your interests during the workers’ compensation claims process.