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What is a workers' comp impairment rating?

An impairment rating is a rating that represents the whole-body impairment of an individual. Impairment ratings are used when calculating workers’ comp benefits for employees who have sustained permanent injuries or illnesses.

A permanent injury or illness, such as the loss of a limb, may not mean that the worker is 100% disabled—that is, unable to complete their pre-injury job at all. The treating physician assigns a whole-body impairment rating reflecting the worker’s level of overall impairment. A relatively minor permanent injury, such as the loss of one finger, may result in a low percentage assignment because the person’s overall level of impairment is not very significant.

A workers’ comp impairment rating is assigned when the worker has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when the worker has recovered as much as they will ever recover. Once the worker achieves MMI, the treating physician will assess their impairment level and assign an impairment rating.

The impairment rating is crucial for both employees and employers to understand their obligations and benefits. Additionally, the impairment rating is an important component in impairment rating payout calculation.

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Workers’ insurance and disability payouts

Workers’ compensation coverage can provide a variety of benefits ranging from coverage of lost wages to rehabilitation cost assistance. An employee who has been injured on the job or becomes ill as a result of covered work-related duties is usually eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Many workers’ compensation claims are “medical-only,” meaning that the worker claims financial compensation for medical expenses such as prescription costs, doctors’ bills, hospital bills, and other related fees.

Other workers’ comp claims may also include requests for non-medical expense reimbursements, such as missed wages and possible job retraining.

Any claims must be considered “covered” by the insurance company, meaning that they must fall within specific parameters before they can qualify for payment. For example, an employee cannot receive workers’ comp reimbursement for an accident that occurred during a lunch break or while the worker was intoxicated.

Workers’ compensation insurance can also include disability payments. Disability occurs when an employee is temporarily or permanently unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness. A temporary disability means that the worker will eventually be able to return to their pre-injury job; a permanent disability means that they likely will not be able to return to their full-time job. A permanent disability is also when a workers’ comp impairment rating is assigned.

When a worker receives a workers’ comp impairment rating of 100%, the injury is considered a permanent total disability. This means they cannot work in their pre-injury job in any capacity. A worker with this rating would likely receive the maximum allowable dollar amount in disability benefits, which in many states is about two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury weekly rate (up to a certain maximum). The worker could be eligible to receive benefits for the next fifteen years or until they are eligible for Social Security benefits, whichever comes first.

Why CompSource Mutual

At CompSource Mutual, employee safety is our top priority. We believe that Oklahoma’s greatest asset is its people. Contact us to file a claim early and take advantage of the robust network of resources available to support your workers and your business in the event of a covered workplace injury. Our experienced team is trained to guide you through the workers’ compensation insurance claims process from start to finish – making it simple and straightforward. Visit our Claims page to find out more about how to file for workers’ comp, and what happens after a claim has been filed.

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Since the degree of impairment from any given injury can vary significantly depending on the job and injury in question, it is impossible to provide an accurate average impairment rating payout amount. The payout amount is calculated based on the individual person, their workers’ comp impairment rating, and what they were earning at their pre-injury job. Usually, the impairment rating is multiplied by a certain amount to determine what compensation the employee will receive.

A workers’ comp disability rating is a doctor’s judgment on the severity of the employee’s injury. Disability ratings are classified as percentages. For example, a doctor may assign a 20% disability rating for an injured foot, meaning the employee only has 80% whole-body functionality.

Permanent total disability pay is usually paid weekly at two-thirds the amount of the worker’s pre-injury weekly wage, depending on the state. Employees with this type of disability receive payment once a week for the rest of their lives until they reach the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits.

This depends on the severity of the injury and how long it takes to heal. Temporary disability benefits can typically last for two to three years, while permanent disability benefits can last much longer, up to fifteen years. If the worker has a medical-only claim, their workers’ comp would last only long enough to cover the medical bills that are incurred until they are able to return to work.

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