After you sustain a workplace injury, you naturally want to get back to work as soon as possible – but not every injury heals the way that people hope. There’s a possibility that you may be left with permanent injuries that won’t heal.
Once you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) – where your condition has stabilized and isn’t expected to improve any further – your workers’ comp physician will prepare a permanent and stationary (P&S) report to the claims administrator on your case.
This report not only details the limitations caused by your condition but includes a breakdown of how much of your disability is work-related and how much is related to any other factor (such as your age or health habits). In essence, you’ll receive a disability “rating” that expresses exactly how disabled you are, from 1% to 100%. This rating is important because it dictates the amount of benefits you’ll receive in the future.
You (and your employer) can appeal the rating
It’s not uncommon for either injured workers or their employers to disagree with the rating. When that happens, you may be asked to go to an independent examination with a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME).
The goal is to eliminate any bias the treating physician may have (for or against you) and to ensure that the rating is appropriate.
Even so, the QME report may not come back with what you consider to be a fair rating. At that point, you have the right to ask for a reconsideration of your rating by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board – and you should.
Workers’ compensation is supposed to make things easier for injured workers, but employers are generally very reluctant to accept a permanent disability rating that will cost them money. If you’re unhappy with what’s happening with your claim, it’s never a bad idea to get legal guidance.