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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
1-866-900-7078
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

What Is a Permanent Impairment Rating?

It's bad enough that you've been hurt on the job.

You want to get better and return to work, but you don't want to go back to work too soon and risk further injury or hurt your chances for a full recovery. Most people who've been through a workers' compensation claim can tell you, things can get complicated pretty quickly. And your recovery may often seem like it gets lost among the noise of this complicated machine known as the workers' compensation system.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will send injured workers to doctors they prefer. We've seen over and over that sometimes these doctors may clear our clients to go back to their jobs before they feel ready.

If you don't feel you are medically ready to return to your job, contact us immediately. We may be able to help you get another doctor's opinion.

Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI

In workers' compensation language, when your healing period ends, you have reached what is known as "maximum medical improvement" or MMI.  If you have made a complete recovery and have no pain or loss of function, your doctor will likely record in your medical records that you have made a 100% recovery and you are back to normal - the way you were before your injury.

However, if you still have deformity, pain, weakness, or loss of function that has not improved through medical treatment, your doctor may assign you a "permanent impairment rating." This impairment rating is supposed to reflect the percentage of change from your normal pre-injury condition.

If you don't agree with this rating, or you don't feel medically ready to return to your job, we can help you take the necessary steps to try to get a second opinion with a doctor you choose. Not necessarily one the insurance company chooses!

NC Compensation for a Permanent Impairment

Most of our clients are shocked to learn that North Carolina state law sets a maximum amount of compensation for each body part. Here is a list of the maximum amounts you could receive for a total loss of body parts: 

BodyPart

NC Compensation for Permanent Partial Impairment

For anything less than total loss, benefits are figured on a percentage basis. For example, a 10% impairment rating to the leg would be worth 20 weeks of benefits at your weekly compensation rate. A 10% rating to your back would be worth 30 weeks at your weekly compensation rate. The North Carolina Industrial Commission publishes a ratings guide to help physicians make impairment evaluations. Click here for those guidelines.

If your workers' comp claim has been approved, you are likely entitled to receive this payment for permanent impairment even if you are able to go back to work and even if you don't have any reduction to your wages. This is a partial settlement that is made in a lump sum, usually when the injured worker goes back to work for the same employer earning the same wages as before the injury. Under this kind of partial settlement, the injured worker retains the right to request additional medical treatment for another two years.

If you disagree with the doctor's rating, you are entitled to get a second opinion from another doctor of your choosing. The Industrial Commission will average the two ratings to determine your benefits. 

If, however, your healing period ends and you are still unable to return to work, you can choose to continue receiving weekly compensation checks instead of payment for your disability rating. Except under special circumstances, you can only receive weekly benefits for a total of 500 weeks from the date you became disabled.

Complicated, isn't it?

NC Workers' Comp Lawyers Evaluate Your Case FREE

Workers' compensation law can be extremely confusing and complicated. That's why we believe it's best to have legal guidance to help you try to make the right decisions at every step of this process. Our workers' compensation lawyers have the training and the experience to help you potentially get the medical treatment and compensation you need.

Six of us are North Carolina Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialists. Out of the 28,000 attorneys throughout North Carolina, only 141 can claim that distinction*. We also have a former Special Deputy Commissioner, and a former Deputy Commissioner from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, (one of whom was a state senator).

When you're injured, the last thing you need is to try to become an expert in workers' compensation law. You just need to focus on getting better and getting a check to put food on the table for your family during your recovery.

Click here to let our highly experienced workers' comp team evaluate your case for FREE, or call on our 24/7 North Carolina workers' comp hotline at 1-866-900-7078.

* NC Board Certification figures provided by the NC State Bar through December 31, 2015.

 

Susan Vanderweert joined the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in 2015 handling Workers’ Compensation cases, and is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation law. Prior to joining the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, she represented the other side – insurance companies and employers – for more than 12 years.

Ms. Vanderweert earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill, where she was Editor-in-Chief for the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation. She earned a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she double majored in Political Science and Communication.

Throughout Ms. Vanderweert’s career she has practiced in the areas of Appellate Advocacy, Insurance Regulatory Matters, and Workers’ Compensation. While she has worked in a variety of capacities – journalism, public relations, and managing a variety of nonprofit professional associations and trade groups – nothing comes close to the satisfaction she gets from helping injured workers.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078