Alabama Workers Compensation Questions: (31) What is an Impairment Rating?
What is an impairment rating? After suffering a work injury and receiving medical treatment, you will eventually come to the point where your treating physician states that you are as good as you are going to get; this is known as your date of reaching “maximum medical improvement.” At this juncture, the physician will give an opinion as to whether you have suffered a permanent physical injury; if you have, then an impairment rating will be calculated.
What exactly is the impairment rating and what does it mean? Impairment ratings are generally calculated in accordance with procedures listed in the A.M.A. Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Specific impairment ratings are provided according to the type of injury you have suffered and what permanent restrictions you now have to the affected body part (arm, hand, leg, feet, eye) and/or to the body as a whole. While the A.M.A. Guides specifically state that their ratings are not purposed to say what an injured worker can do post-accident, in practice these ratings are viewed by most courts as evidence of your permanent physical impairment, but the court is not bound by these ratings.
If you have suffered a permanent injury to a non-scheduled body part (neck, back, shoulder or hip), or if you injury is such that it effects to proper functioning of the body as a whole and you are no longer able to perform your job duties or earn the same type of money, then the impairment rating really is not as important as your physical limitations, as your permanent restrictions are what will be relied upon in determining what compensation you are entitled to receive
If you live in Alabama and you have questions about what benefits you are entitled to receive under Alabama’s Workers Comp Statute, don’t hesitate to contact one of the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation Lawyers at Powell and Denny today.
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