Each injury is different and the degree of disability is often disputed by the insurance carrier. If your employer or their insurance company disagrees with your doctor’s determination of your level of disability your case may be scheduled for a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge.
The general breakdown for the degree of a disability is as follows:
- Total Disability – 100%
- Marked – 75% disabled
- Moderate to Marked – 67% disabled
- Moderate – 50% disabled
- Mild to Moderate – 33% disabled
- Mild – 25% disabled
What if my injury is permanent?
After your injury, there is typically a presumption that you will go through medical treatment and will fully recover and return to work. At some point, however, you may reach what doctors call Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This means that you have recovered as much as you will, and any remaining level of disability is expected to be permanent in nature. At this point, your doctor will complete Form C-4.3, which outlines your level of permanent impairment. If after you reach Maximum Medical Improvement, you are found only able to do certain types of work, i.e. part-time or limited duty, you will be considered permanently partially disabled, and workers’ compensation payments will continue for the remainder of your life.
In addition, you will be eligible for continued medical care for the rest of your life, including transportation costs to and from doctor’s visits and the costs of prescription medicines. If, at some point in the future, you are able to return to work, your case would be reviewed to determine whether benefits should end or be reduced. If your situation results in a permanent partial disability – meaning that you are able to do only some type of work, even if it is part-time or a different type of job than you did before – then a medical impairment rating will be assigned to your case. This rating will become a factor in determining your future benefit payment amount, as well as the length of time you will be entitled to receive benefits.
How Benefits Are Determined
Again, you are eligible to receive medical care for your injury throughout your lifetime. The Workers’ Compensation Board considers three factors in determining benefit payment amounts and the length of time benefits will be paid for permanent partial disability cases:
1. The medical impairment rating for your case is your doctor’s evaluation of the percentage of impairment caused by your injury. The results of any independent medical examination you attended will be reviewed as well.
2. Your functional loss will be determined based on your ability to do certain tasks, including things like walking, standing, driving, lifting objects, and how well you can do fine motor tasks.
3. The Board will also look at vocational factors like your education level and prior job experience to determine if you have skills that could be applied to other fields of work, or if they believe you are capable of learning a new job. These factors will help them determine how much earning capacity you have lost.
Contact Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. Today
Getting your life back together after a serious work injury can be a long, difficult process. If you have experienced an injury at work and are filing for Workers’ Compensation, Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. can help you get back on your feet. We have extensive experience dealing with Workers’ Compensation claims, and we will put that expertise to work for you. Contact us online or call us at 1-877-737-4806 to schedule your consultation.