What is a Permanent Impairment Rating and How is it Established?

If you’re employed by the federal government, you’re probably aware of some of the incredibly labor-intensive hoops you have to jump through for just about anything. But when you’ve been injured on the job and you’re left with a permanent disability, these hoops can seem downright insurmountable.

At Wolmed Work and Auto Injury Experts, our team specializes in helping patients who have claims through the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP). Thanks to our vast experience, we’re well familiar with the ins and outs of these claims, especially when it comes to schedule award impairment ratings.

Here’s a quick overview of the permanent impairment rating process and how we can help.

What is a permanent impairment rating?

A permanent impairment, according to the American Medical Association (AMA), involves, “a loss, loss of use or derangement of any body part, organ system or organ function.” 

Digging a little deeper, the AMA states, “Impairment percentages or ratings developed by medical specialists are consensus-derived estimates that reflect the severity of the medical condition and the degree to which the impairment decreases an individual’s ability to perform common Activities of Daily Living (ADL), excluding work.”

In layman’s terms, what this means is that if your on-the-job injury has led to a permanent disability that affects your day-to-day life, the next step is to determine to what extent your life is affected, giving it a kind of rating, which is largely accomplished through complicated algorithms.

A permanent impairment rating can only be established once you’ve exhausted your medical treatments, which is called reaching a status of maximum medical improvement (MMI). 

In most workers’ comp claims, your medical expenses are covered under your claim. But once your disability reaches a point where no further medical attention will improve your situation, you’ve officially reached MMI and we can get started on figuring out your permanent disability rating.

Why is a permanent disability rating important?

Establishing your permanent disability rating is extremely important because once you’ve reached MMI, the federal government will pay out a one-time sum called a schedule award, which is your final financial settlement.

How do I establish my permanent disability rating?

To comply with the regulations surrounding your schedule award, you need to seek our help, as we’re well versed in performing impairment ratings based on the AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment.

The AMA has set up guidelines for a certified examiner that includes specialized forms for almost every type of injury, including:

Our team of medical experts understands these forms and routinely helps our patients navigate the seemingly endless paperwork in order to ensure that they get a fair schedule award.

Ultimately, this can be a really tough time for you as you’re dealing with a permanent impairment and an uncertain future. We can help provide you with peace of mind knowing that your federal workers’ comp claim and schedule award are expertly handled. Simply call one of our two offices in either Dallas or Denton, Texas, to get started.

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