If you get injured while on the job, you are protected under worker’s compensation which is designed to compensate you for damages. However, before you receive compensation, a doctor will assign you a disability rating. If this is new to you, then this article will discuss everything you need to know regarding disability ratings for worker’s comp.
What Is a Disability Rating?
When a doctor performs a permanent disability rating (also referred to as an impairment rating), they will perform a physical examination to test your ability to perform and function when it comes to daily activities. Various tests are involved in the exam, such as determining your range of motion, capacity to lift objects, and more. In many states, the doctor will use the AMA’s Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to provide a rating.
In the states of Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin, Utah, and Oregon, a state-specific set of guidelines is used instead. Should the insurance company disagree with the given rating, they may ask you to take an independent medical examination (IME). In this case, the doctor will do another series of tests and provide a new rating. While it’s common for these ratings to be different, a worker’s compensation judge will be the one to decide which rating is more appropriate or a third and final exam will be ordered.
In general, there are four kinds of disability, which are classified as the following:
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent total disability
- Temporary total disability
- Permanent partial disability
Usually, a temporary disability won’t result in being awarded a worker’s compensation and once you recover, you may return to work. You may be provided with benefits for your temporary disability if your impairment prevents you from coming back to work on a full-time basis or requires you to work in an environment where the workload isn’t as heavy.
If you’re able to come back to work after a permanent disability, you will receive compensation. This is determined by the state you live in — in 36 states, a table is used to determine the amount for a specific disability. In 14 states, however, statutes are put in place for such compensations. If you were severely disabled and will not be able to return to work, however, you will be paid with benefits from a permanent total disability.
Does My Injury Rating Affect My Compensation?
A disability rating is provided as a percentage, for instance, the doctor may assign 20% for your foot’s disability which means it only has a functionality of 80%. The settlement for your permanent disability is calculated through three factors, which are:
- The part of the body where the injury is
- How much you’re paid at work
- The total of your disability rating
Every part of the body is assigned a value — for example, the arm is worth 240 weeks, while the back is worth 300 weeks. That is to say, if you lost your arm during work, you could get 240 weeks’ pay, while if you permanently damage your back, you could get 300 weeks’ worth of pay. So if one part of your body suffers from a permanent partial disability, the doctor will be able to determine how much damage it sustained. As such, you will get the appropriate injury rating and will correspond with how much compensation you will be entitled to.
What if There’s a Change in My Condition?
If you’ve agreed to a settlement regarding your permanent disability but find out that your condition has become worse, you might be able to get a larger settlement. To do this, you must file your claim no more than two years after accepting your original settlement. Failure to do so will result in losing the right to make any further claims.
When Can I Accept a Settlement Based on My Rating?
Before you accept any rating settlements, you need to know that this will lead to the termination of other disability benefits that you’re entitled to. Furthermore, if you’re still in the middle of any treatment, it’s still too early for you to accept any kind of settlement. We suggest waiting until the time you recover to the best possible extent, or when you’re able to go back to work.
In this way, you’ll know that you’re still strong enough to work before cutting off the rights to further disability compensations. The next step after this is to contact an experienced legal team or workman’s compensation attorney near Minnesota before accepting any offers of settlement. This will ensure that you will be provided with the best possible compensation in exchange for the injury you sustained.
Call Osterbauer for Your Worker’s Compensation Claims
Don’t let your employer and their insurance company short-change you — we’re here to help you get the right amount of compensation, especially if you’ve suffered a serious injury. If you’re looking for a workman’s compensation attorney near Minnesota, Osterbauer Law Firm is here for you. Our team has a combined 76 years of experience in handling injury cases, which has allowed us to claim the super lawyer award 14 times.
Whether you work in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Duluth, or greater Minnesota, you can count on us to provide you with the best compensation for work-related injuries. We’ve been in the business since 1992, and have helped with over 15,000 cases to date. Give us a call today at +1 612-334-3434 or visit our website to get the help you need for your worker’s compensation case.