In a workers’ compensation case, the amount of benefits an injured employee receives depends on the severity of their injury, and how the injury affected the employee’s ability to work.
A “disability rating,” as determined by a doctor, is the system used for identifying injury severity. A disability rating is also known as an injury rating or an impairment rating.
The amount and type of benefits an injured worker receives, and for how long, is based on their disability rating.
What is the Workers' Comp Disability Rating Scale?
After a work injury, your doctor will continually evaluate your condition and eventually assign a disability rating. Disability ratings are typically determined once a patient reaches “maximum medical improvement.” Maximum medical improvement identifies the condition of a patient in which further medical care will not improve their condition — either the worker has fully recovered for their injuries, or they have reached a point of permanent disability. “Disability” can be a synonym for “unable to fully perform work (or earn pre-injury wages)” in a workers’ compensation case. In cases of a totally or partially permanently disabled patient, treatment will continue with the goal of living with the condition, and a disability rating will be determined. Disability ratings are decided on a percentage scale, from 0% to 100%, and are assigned for each part of the body that has been injured. 0% signals no reduction of earning capacity while 100% signals permanent disability.
How Does My Disability Rating Affect My Workers’ Comp Benefits?
A doctor’s disability rating provides a quantifiable determination of how exactly an injury affected a victim’s ability to work, and therefore, how they should be compensated. For less severe ratings which show that an employee can continue working in their same position and earn the same wages, their benefits may be lower, or at least limited to a certain time period. Higher ratings which exhibit a total and/or permanent disability lead to higher benefit payments over a longer period of time.