Workers’ Compensation Impairment Rating Settlement in Virginia
In Virginia, employees who get injured due to work-related accidents or conditions are entitled to compensation and benefits. The amount of compensation they get typically depends on the extent of their injuries.
In the case of a permanent disability, an “impairment rating” determines the value of the benefits that should be received. An employee with a permanent impairment rating greater than 0% for a body part covered under the law may be entitled to compensation and benefits.
How Does Impairment Differ from Disability?
The American Medical Association’s definition of impairment is the significant loss, deviation, or loss of use of a bodily part of function due to a disease, disorder, or health condition.
According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, a person has a disability if the work-related injuries they sustained led to a reduction in their earning capacity. It’s possible to sustain a permanent impairment without having one’s earning capacity reduced.
Disability can either be temporary or permanent. However, an impairment is permanent. An employee who sustained a fractured arm, for instance, can return to work good as new when the bone heals. On the other hand, a person who has an impairment will always have that impairment, no matter what type of treatment or medication they take.
How is the Impairment Rating Calculated?
Also referred to as a “disability rating,” the impairment rating refers to the percentage of the loss of permanent use of a given body part.
Impairment ratings are calculated once the employee’s condition has stabilized, and no further medical treatment can help improve their condition. This stage is referred to as “maximum medical improvement” under Virginia law.
The rating is determined by the attending doctor or an independent medical examiner handling workers’ compensation cases. They’ll evaluate the employee’s condition through non-invasive physical tests to determine the severity of the impairment.
The doctor will then adhere to state guidelines when indicating the degree of the employee’s permanent disability and the reduction in their potential income earning capabilities. Separate disability ratings are given to each affected body part. These ratings are often referred to in percentages—from 0% to 100%.
What is a 5% Impairment Rating?
In Virginia, the impairment rating is used to calculate the permanent partial disability compensation. It’s multiplied by the number of weeks specified in the Workers’ Compensation statute and the specified rate for the average weekly wage.
For an employee earning $1200 a week and getting a 5% impairment rating for the loss of use of a toe (other than the great toe) , for instance, their compensation may be calculated as follows: 800 (average weekly wage X rate of 66 2/3 specified by law) X 10 (the number of weeks set by law as the compensation period) X 0.05 (the impairment rating).
What Does a 10 percent Impairment Rating Mean?
For an employee earning $1200 a week and getting a 10% impairment rating for the loss of use of the great toe, for instance, their compensation may be calculated as follows: 800 (average weekly wage X rate of 66 2/3 specified by law) X 30 (the number of weeks set by law as the compensation period) X 0.1 (the impairment rating).
What is a 15% Impairment Rating?
For an employee earning $1200 a week and getting a 15% impairment rating for the loss of use of the middle finger, for instance, their compensation may be calculated as follows: 800 (average weekly wage X rate of 66 2/3 specified by law) X 30 (the number of weeks set by law as the compensation period) X 0.15 (the impairment rating).
Need Legal Advice? Call a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now
If you have concerns about the impairment rating you received or if you need help with the claims process, it’s best to have an experienced and qualified workers’ compensation lawyer by your side. They can help ensure that you’re getting the most accurate impairment rating possible.
Slominski Law represents injured employees and their families in Virginia. We’re here to help you get the compensation you need to manage life with an injury or disability. Call us today at (434) 384-9400 to reach our Lynchburg Office or at (540) 554-3762 to contact our Roanoke Office.