You may be entitled to compensation for permanent loss of function. Not all injuries result in permanent impairment. Permanency benefits are determined when you reach Medical End Result, which is when your medical condition has stabilized. You should always have a permanent impairment evaluation at the time you are placed at Medical End Result.
You have the right to have the insurance company pay your own treating doctor (or if your doctor is not trained in how to do an impairment rating, a doctor of your choosing) determine permanency. If your doctor is not trained to do impairment ratings, you should call a lawyer to get the name of a doctor who is. The insurance company may also send you to a doctor of its choosing.
The doctor will give you a percentage impairment (“impairment rating”) based upon set medical guidelines. There is often a difference in the rating given by the two doctors. If this happens, or if you are not sure if the rating is correct, you should contact a lawyer.
The permanency benefit is determined by a formula. For back injuries you receive your Weekly Compensation Rate (the amount of your Weekly Benefit not including the extra $10 for dependents), multiplied by the percentage impairment, multiplied by 550 weeks. For instance, a person whose Weekly Compensation Rate (Weekly Benefit) is $300, who has a back injury with a 10% impairment rating, would receive $300 per week for 55 weeks (550 weeks x 0.10). For all non-back injuries you receive the Weekly Compensation Rate multiplied by the percentage impairment multiplied by 405 weeks.
If you agree with the impairment rating, you can sign a Form 22 which allows you to receive a lump sum payment rather than continued weekly payments. Once you sign the Form 22 you cannot challenge the impairment rating or the amount you were paid.
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If you’ve been seriously injured, our Rutland, VT personal injury law firm is here to provide you support, guidance, and representation as you seek damages. Please call us today for a free consultation. We can begin working on your case immediately.