Understanding Impairment Ratings and Workers’ Comp Disability Awards

You’ve been hurt at work while performing your job duties. Beyond the physical pain and recovery time, you’re likely concerned about your finances and possible long-term effects. Understanding the Ohio workers’ compensation system and how impairment is determined may help ease some of your stress.

In addition to learning about workers’ comp impairment ratings in Ohio, you may want to consult Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA. Our skilled Ohio job-injury lawyers are certified specialists in workers’ compensation by the Ohio Bar Association, and we understand all the concerns you have after a workplace accident. We can file your claim and pursue rightful compensation while you concentrate on healing.

Call (419) 625-7770 to set up a free consultation about your workers’ comp claim.

Impairment and Disability

After a work injury, the best possible outcome is a full and complete recovery that gets you back to work without restrictions. If your finger was smashed by a tool while putting furniture together, the fracture might keep you off work for a week or two, but if there was no permanent damage, you could expect to return to the same job without any loss of function in your finger.

Under the Ohio workers’ compensation system, your injury was likely classified as a temporary total disability (TTD) because it was temporary and you couldn’t work while it healed. Accordingly, you should receive wage replacement and medical expenses from your workers’ compensation claim.

Now, consider that you lost most of your finger’s function due to nerve damage and the bones fusing together. Now your level of “impairment” from the loss of function must be determined. Once doctors decide your impairment, a decision is made on how it will impact your ability to work. The result of which is your “disability.”

When and How are Impairment Ratings Determined?

Workplace injuries or occupational illnesses that result in permanent damage or cannot be cured will at some point result in your reaching “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI. When you hit this milestone, your workers’ compensation case will be evaluated to see if you have any permanent disability.

Doctors assign impairments ratings after a physical exam and review of your medical records. Your ability to perform normal daily activities will be tested as well. Depending on your injury, your range of motion, balance, lifting capacity, eyesight, or hearing might be tested. The doctor then uses guidelines to set an “impairment rating.”
For consistency and fairness, medical providers use the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th edition, unless the impairment is visual, and then the 4th edition is used.

Your impairment rating is significant because it is used in the analysis of whether you’ll receive any permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits, and if so, how much. Using the example of the crushed finger, if the doctor determines you’ve lost 50% of its function, you will receive 50% of the maximum compensation allowed by law.

We Can Help You with Your Workers’ Comp Claim

The Ohio workers’ compensation laws are complicated and claim procedures can be confusing. You need to focus on your health and getting back to work. At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, our experienced Ohio workers’ comp lawyers understand the importance of making sure your injury receives the correct impairment rating so that you are awarded the proper amount of permanent disability benefits. We know this system and how to present your claim in the best possible light.

Let us fight for your claim and obtain what you really deserve. You can set up a free consultation by calling (419) 625-7770 today.