Did Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor Give You an Incorrect Permanent Impairment Rating?
If a doctor tells you that you have reached maximum medical improvement, it is not good news. It does not mean that you have made a full recovery, quite the opposite, in fact. It means that your health has improved as much as it is going to after your injury, and whatever residual symptoms you still have are most likely going to be permanent. In other words, it means that you are not going to get any better. Hearing the words “maximum medical improvement” from a workers’ compensation doctor is even more disturbing because it also means that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance is finished paying for the acute treatment of your injury. The next step is figuring out how much, if any, compensation you will get for your permanently diminished ability to work. Don’t be surprised if your employer tries to get away with paying as little as possible. A South Florida workers’ compensation lawyer can help you get the compensation you need if you have reached maximum medical improvement after a work injury.
What Is a Permanent Impairment Rating?
The permanent impairment rating is a number from one to 100 that expresses the percentage of permanent loss of function you have experienced as a result of your injury. The percentage is based on the function of your whole body, so if you injured multiple body parts in the work accident, the permanent impairment rating will be higher. The Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Schedule, published in 1996, sets out the guidelines for calculating your permanent impairment rating. In order to determine the permanent impairment rating, one or more specialist physicians will perform tests on the injured body parts and look at the extent of your injuries. They may assess the range of motion and how long you can stand or walk before the injuries start causing you pain and may also look at other factors.
The Trouble with “Because I Said So”
According to an article published in the Florida Bar Journal, workers’ compensation doctors do not always assess injured workers’ permanent impairment ratings correctly. Sometimes they make a judgment without performing all the tests required to get an accurate picture of the function of the injured body part. When questioned about their decision, they simply invoke their status as physicians, saying, “because I said so” and assuming that people who have not studied in medical school would not dare to challenge them. The author says that many doctors do not apply the guidelines appropriately, especially when it comes to back injuries. He gives the example of a worker who suffered a back injury; the permanent impairment rating should account for the worker’s herniated disc and the surgery needed to repair it, as well as to his spinal nerve root injury. It is important to get an accurate permanent impairment rating because this rating forms the basis of your impairment income benefits.
Let Us Help You Today
A Sunrise workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure that you get an accurate permanent impairment rating and appropriate benefits to go along with it. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld for help today.