Permanent disability benefits in workers compensation
When you sustain an injury at work, the injury can be either temporary or permanent. In workers compensation, you are able to receive medical treatment even if your condition is temporary. When your condition has reached maximum medical improvement, your physician will release you. If you no longer have any kind of disability, then you will not receive a significant workers compensation settlement amount because the amount of permanent disability you have is a large part of the value of your case.
If you have permanent disability, you will receive compensation for that based on the impact your injury had on your ability to compete in the field with other employees. Your doctor will give you a permanent disability rating/percentage. For example, if you have a herniated disc in your lumbar spine (low back), then you fall into the DRE 2 category, which is 5-8% permanent disability. If you do no agree with your treating physician’s permanent disability rating, then you can request to be evaluated by a Qualified Medical Evaluator who can give you the same, better or worse rating.
After your receive your permanent disability rating, the rating must be adjusted for Diminished Functional Earning Capacity, Occupational Group, and Age at Time of Injury.
For diminished functional earning capacity, you get an adjustment of your permanent impairment rating depending on what body part was injured. For example, if your back was injured then you will receive an increase in your rating because the back is a vital part of your ability to work.
For occupational group, you rating will adjust based on the type of job that you have. For example, if you injured your back and you work in an agricultural field, your rating will be greatly increased because having an injured back severely limits your ability to work in the fields.
Lastly, you rating will be adjusted for your age at the time of your injury. The older you were at the time of the injury, the more beneficial of a boost you will get in your rating since it is more difficult to work and compete with an injury at a more elderly age.
You must know how to evaluate injuries in order to ensure that you are settling your case based on the correct permanent disability rating.