Impairment Ratings in Texas Workers’ Compensation Cases
Many times, following a work-related injury, although your medical condition may improve, you will still have some amount of residual impairment or loss of function. After you receive an Impairment Rating, your Temporary Income Benefits will stop and you will begin to receive Impairment Income Benefits to compensate you for your loss of function.
Upon reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), an Impairment Rating needs to be given so that your benefits can continue. Impairment Ratings are designed to assess your full or partial whole-person impairment following your treatment in a Texas Workers’ Compensation case. The Impairment Rating will serve as a basis to determine how much compensation you will receive for your remaining impairment.
How An Impairment Rating is Determined
Either your doctor or the state-appointed Designated Doctor will assess your level of impairment. Upon reaching MMI, the certifying doctor will perform a special examination to determine whether you have remaining impairment as a result of your work-related injury. Certain aspects of your physical limitations will be measured such as your range of motion, your strength, loss of nerve conduction velocity, pain thresholds, etc.
The findings of the examination will be compared to the objective listings in a book called “Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment” (third edition, second printing, dated February 1989), published by the American Medical Association (AMA).
Impairment Rating Disputes
Either party (the injured worker or the insurance carrier) can dispute the Impairment Rating. The Impairment Rating must be disputed within 90 days of receiving notice of the rating amount, and failure to dispute the Impairment Rating within this time frame will (almost certainly) result in the rating becoming permanent.
Texas Workers’ Compensation laws are complex and impact many areas of an injured workers’ life and future. The insurance carrier has one goal: to limit or dispute your medical care and your entitlement to income benefits. Call 888-434-COMP (888-434-2667) and talk to our hard-working, experienced workers’ comp lawyers. You owe it to yourself to talk to an attorney who can help you understand your rights, responsibilities and options in this difficult time of your life. The call is free, there is no obligation, and all conversations are kept strictly confidential. Call today.
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