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What is a permanent disability rating?

Law Offices of Jeremy K. Lusk, Inc.

A permanent disability rating is a calculated percentage of the amount of disability an injured worker has from his or her injury.  Generally, either a treating physician or an independent medical examiner will provide an injured worker with an impairment which is then calculated into a percentage.  This is usually done once the injured worker’s condition has reached a permanent and stationary status, meaning his/her condition has plateaued for a period of time and is not getting any better or worse.  Once this occurs, the doctor looks at several factors, depending on what type of injury is claimed, and makes a determination on the permanent impairment.

Once a doctor makes a determination either the attorneys, insurance company, or Disability Evaluation Unit calculate a rating for settlement purposes.  Factors such as date of injury, body part, age, occupation, and apportionment are taken into consideration.

Apportionment is the percentage of disability that is related to other factors, such as a prior non work-related injury, a prior work-related injury, or a contributing medical condition.  Sometimes other factors such as age-related conditions such as degeneration, or obesity may be used as apportionment.  A doctor is the one that is qualified and capable of making that initial determination.   However, the final decision on apportionment issues is up to the judge.

There are different levels of permanent disability.  Ratings can range from 0 percent to 100 percent.  If someone is 100 percent disabled, they are considered permanently and totally disabled.  It is very uncommon for an individual to become this disabled.  The injury or combination of injuries must be very disabling to achieve this percentage.  Most disabilities are nowhere near 100%.  In fact, just because someone is awarded permanent disability, this does not mean they cannot return to work.  The permanent disability rating allows the parties to determine how much money your disability is worth. 

If you have questions about your workers' compensation case and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.

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