Posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2016 at 11:30 am
These are the guidelines for doctors and physicians who have the task of determining the impairment rating for a North Carolina work injury cases. The guidelines are different than the American Medical Association guidelines. Physicians should use the North Carolina guidelines and not the AMA guidelines are their starting point.
Doctors and physicians should use their own evaluation of the patient and their own experience in making their final impairment ratings decisions.
What must be remembered is that usually, unless the employee has returned to full duty or a job paying the same or more as his or her pre-injury job, the impairment rating is seldom the most significant aspect of a seriously injured worker’s case. Many lay people get caught up in this and believe that the rating is the most important thing. It is not.
What is most important is what your doctor says about your future ability to perform work. Will you be able to return to your pre-injury job? If not, what other kind of work will you be able to do? These are usually the most important questions which will determine the value of your claim.
To see a video regarding impairment ratings generally, please click here.
Where a joint of the lower extremity has reparative, reconstructive surgery and a part of the joint removed or repaired with resultant osteoarthritis or traumatic arthritis anticipated, consider a minimum of 10% impairment of the joint.
Evaluation of impairment following fractures of the femur and/or the tibia and fibula is done by first evaluating any shortening and assigning impairment resulting from this; then determining the function of the adjacent joints and arriving at the impairment of these joints. The impairment is then the combined total resulting from shortening, deformity, and the impairment of the adjacent joints.
Malrotation and angulatory deformities that persist following injuries will be considered in evaluation of permanent impairment.
More Specific Lower Extremity Guidelines
|Shortening||AWW Impairment to Whole Leg|
|· ½ inch||4%|
|· 1 inch||8%|
|· 1½ inch||16%|
|· 2 inch||24%|
|· 2½ inch||32%|
|· 3 inch||40%|
Example: AP motion: between 0 degrees and 80 degrees flexion
Lateral motion: 15 degrees adduction to 15 degrees abduction
Rotation: 20 degrees internal to 20 degrees external rotation
Example: AP motion: 20 degrees flexion to 70 degrees flexion
Lateral motion: 10 degrees adduction to 30 degrees abduction
Rotation: 0 degrees internal rotation to 20 degrees external rotation
Example: AP motion: 30 degrees flexion to 50 degrees flexion
Lateral motion: 30 degrees adduction to 40 degrees abduction
Rotation: as much as 10 degrees internal rotation to 30 degrees external rotation
Ankylosis is also known as anchyloses. It is joint stiffness due to abnormal adhesion and joint bone rigidity. It can be caused by injury or disease. The doctor will examine to see if the rigidity is partial or complete.
Arthroplasty is an orthopedic surgical procedure. It is done to relieve pain and restore joint function. In the procedure, the articular surface of a musculoskeletal joint is remodeled, replaces, or realigned.
Get a Professional North Carolina Work Injury Attorney on Your Side
The employer and the employer’s insurance company will have a lawyer fighting to terminate or minimize your benefits. You need a strong advocate that understands that small differences, such as a 20% impairment rating vs. a 10% impairment rating, could mean a significant difference in money for you. To speak with an experienced and aggressive North Carolina work injury lawyer, call for help now. Please contact North Carolina Workers’ Compensation attorney Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 . You can also complete his contact form.