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Impairment Ratings, Pt. 2

  • Edward Berry
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Impairment Ratings, Pt. 2

In my last article on Impairment Ratings, I stated that the most important thing to know about impairment ratings issued by WC doctors is that judges do not have to accept them as the gospel.  Our case law tells us this.  Compass Bank v. Glidewell, 685 So. 2d 739 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996) But, I want to  delve deeper.

Did you know that the book that doctors use to assign impairment ratings emphatically states, and I quote:

“It must be emphasized and clearly understood that impairment percentages derived according to Guides criteria should not be used to make direct financial awards or direct estimates of disabilities” AMA Guides, 4th edition.

The book goes on to explain that a % is not enough to provide complete answers regarding disability and that medical information such as impairments must be combined with non-medical information to understand how a worker’s impairment limits his/her capacity.

This is powerful.  The very book that is used to force workers to accept minimal compensation based on doctor assigned ratings and which is commonly and erroneously relied upon by the legal industry as the sole determiner of impairment ratings, fiecely opposes being used in this manner.

I believe judges are liberated to ignore misguided tradition about impairment ratings when you show them that case law and the Guides reject this tradition.

If you would like a copy of the referenced section of the guides, or have additional questions about impairment ratings, give us a call at 205-588-0555.  We are happy to serve you.

Servant Law is also available to you as a referral source for workers’ compensation calls that you receive or to talk with you regarding quirky workers’ comp issues you are experiencing in cases that you are currently handling.



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