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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

A Comprehensive Look at What Is Impairment Rating

Injuries on the job can be life-changing depending on their severity. Many of these injuries are caused because of negligence on the part of another party, and this may mean that some kind of medical treatment is necessary. Beyond this, there's the matter of lost earnings and other challenges that you may face following the accident.

A workers' compensation claim will likely be in the cards, which means reaching out to the right attorney is non-negotiable. After all, you do need to get fair compensation to deal with the work-related injury since your quality of life will be affected.

Bear in mind too that an insurance company doesn't look at injured workers through a compassionate lens. These firms will do anything they can to avoid having to pay out settlements to just about anyone regardless of the context.

Your medical impairment rating is a factor here. Put simply, it speaks to the amount of damage caused to the body, which is rated as a percentage. This information tends to be provided once the prescribed course of medical treatment has ended. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "Can you take a vacation while on workers compensation?"

What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

This is a workers' compensation language concept. You have reached maximum medical improvement when the healing period for your injury has ended. In many cases, workers will be able to make a full recovery, meaning that there is no loss of function or pain.

In this case, the doctor will indicate that a 100% recovery has been made, which means that you are effectively just like you were before the injury happened.

However, you may be in a situation where there is still a weakness, pain, deformity, loss of function, etc., that has shown no improvement even with medical treatment. In such cases, a permanent impairment rating is often assigned, which indicates the percentage change from your normal pre-injury condition to the current state you are in.

The impairment income benefits you get will be based on this metric, which is broken down based on body parts.

The Different Degrees of Impairment Ratings

Another way to look at an impairment rating is as a statement of how good you're going to get, which is why doctors will often release patients when they get to the MMI threshold. An impairment rating can have different degrees based on circumstances, and it helps to understand what each of them means.

Permanent Impairment

A permanent impairment rating means that the presented changes in normalcy will last forever. Some people end up with mobility issues in a leg, for example, that are not expected to heal over time. This would be a permanent example.

Temporary Impairment

If you have a temporary impairment rating, it's not expected to last forever. However, there will be a course of healing you must go through to get your function back. Bone fractures will often fall under this category.

The effect of the issue can be very significant, but the worker, once the right course of treatment is used, is expected to make a full recovery.

Partial Impairment

Impairments that fall under this category affect a particular part of the body. For example, there may be an injury that causes someone to lose eyesight in one eye.

Total Impairment

A whole-person impairment rating means just that. The entire person is affected by the ordeal. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most popular to fall under this category.

How the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) Process Works

Receiving an impairment rating, as stated before, means that the specified course of treatment over the set number of weeks must have been completed. Typically, the impairment rating process will be used when the doctor's focus is on helping you manage your injury and full recovery may not be possible.

The process will start with your getting to MMI and an insurance company providing a notice to complete an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). this is done to allow the workplace and the insurance company to have an idea of the extent of the injuries. Unfortunately, insurance companies try to use this to reduce the impairment benefits you are paid.

There's a preset metric used to calculate affected body parts, which is guided by the American Medical Association. With the calculation done by the doctor, a dollar value will be assigned, which helps to value how much the impairment is worth.

With all of this going on and an insurance company that is just looking for the right reason to avoid paying you, it becomes very easy to see why you need a compassionate workers comp lawyer in Indianapolis on your side throughout the process.

Even doctors can sometimes be problematic since moving a patient off total disability benefits onto the partial variation saves them money. Unfortunately, this is not in the best interest of the patient.

There's also an established process that allows for appealing an IRE if there is any disagreement with the results. After all, this is a figure that tells you how much you can receive and for how long.

Taking the Right Steps During an IRE

If you are notified that you need to attend an IRE, you want to do the following:

  1. Ensure you have a friend with you

  2. Be honest

  3. Be prepared to make some notes

  4. Request to see the doctor's report

At the same time, avoid doing any of the following:

  1. Remember everyone is watching, so avoid doing anything that could be misconstrued as your injuries not being as bad as they are.

  2. As honest as you are being, do not give more information than you are asked for

How Can an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

How Can an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

Impairment evaluations can be a nightmare to deal with, as can the whole process of dealing with a workplace injury. The last thing you want is to deal with any of the pitfalls that come from navigating the process.

Your attorney is there to ensure that the process and the resulting medical records are a true reflection of your impairment so that you can get the compensation you deserve, regardless of the tricks insurance firms may use to avoid it. They can also advise on who's at fault in truck driver DUI accidents.

Give Us a Call Today!

Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is committed to going to war for clients to ensure that they can enjoy as good a quality of life as possible following debilitating accidents.

Schedule a free case evaluation today and speak with a passionate and experienced lawyer in Indiana by calling (833) 692-5038!


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