I have been released by the workers’ compensation doctor, and he gave me a rating. He also told me I cannot go back to my job, because of my physical restrictions. Are you telling me that all I am entitled to is the lousy few weeks of payment from my impairment rating?
No! Under North Carolina Law, there are several different ways to approach any compensation injury. Just because you got a permanency rating, that does not necessarily mean that is all you could potentially get from a settlement.
If, for instance, due to your physical restrictions from the injury, age, and lack of education to obtain a job within those restrictions, it would now be futile and almost impossible for you to find a suitable job, then your injuries may have rendered you permanently and totally disabled. This is true even though you were only given a partial impairment rating on the part of your body that was hurt. In that case, you may be entitled to compensation for up to 500 weeks, or possibly the remainder of your life.
On the other hand, you cannot get both the rating payment and the payment for being out of work.
In other words, once you reach maximum medical improvement, the employer is entitled to a credit against any money they continue to pay you after you have reached MMI against your permanency rating. In other words, let’s assume a rating on your foot would entitle you to 50 weeks of comp. Lets also assume it has been 50 weeks since you have been at MMI, and the employer has continued to pay your comp checks. Under those circumstances, you could no longer recover the 50 weeks for your partial impairment rating on your foot, BUT, you still may be able to negotiate for additional money based on numerous factors such as: How long it will take you to find a job? What kind of additional training do you need to get back to work? What are your future medical expenses?