What is a permanency rating and why is it important?
Answer: When your doctor releases you and states that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) oftentimes, they will give you what is known as a permanent partial impairment rating to the specific part or parts of your body that were injured. This is important, because under the workers compensation scheme, each part of your body is assigned a particular number of weeks of compensation. For instance, under Virginia Law, an injury to the leg is assigned a maximum compensation of 175 weeks. If your doctor gave you for example, a permanency rating to the left leg of 20%, that would equate to 20% of 175 weeks, or 35 weeks. You would then multiply 35 weeks by your compensation rate to equal the amount of money you would be entitled to for the permanent partial impairment portion of your claim. So if your comp checks were $450.00 per week, that would equal $15,750.00 in compensation for permanent impairment. You could elect to receive that amount in lump sum, but if you do that, it will be discounted 4%.
Please be aware that this is only one component of what you may be entitled to under the Act. Other issues, such as your permanent physical restrictions, age, and education, may make your rating almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
In other words, if you are really completely disabled from work, it doesn’t matter what your rating is. In that instance, you would technically be entitled to compensation for a total of 500 weeks, unless you have injuries to a least two ratable body parts that prevent you from all work. In that instance, you may be entitled to an Award for permanent and total disability, i.e. for life. Please contact us to discuss all of the ramifications and practical implications of your particular situation with respect to your injuries and compensation.