If you’ve suffered an injury at work, you may have heard your doctor talk about your disability rating. Your disability rating refers to your ability to carry out normal daily activities and function at a standard level. This number determines whether or not you have a permanent disability and how long you can receive workers’ compensation or disability benefits. However, it can take a substantial amount of time to get a disability rating and find out what long-term benefits you may be entitled to.
What Happens After Your Injury
After you’re injured at work, you must get medically evaluated. A doctor approved by your company’s workers’ compensation insurance must do this evaluation. The independent medical exam determines the cause and extent of your injury. You may also undergo a Functional Capacity Evaluation.
Once your care provider has developed an understanding of your injury and created a care plan, you receive treatment and receive regular assessments. As long as you are still improving, you continue receiving care up to a maximum of 104 weeks.
Getting Your Disability Rating
You must meet one of two conditions to get an impairment rating. If your doctor determines that you have reached your maximum medical improvement, your doctor will assess you to determine how much function you have lost as a result of your injury. If you are nearing the end of 104 weeks of treatment—the maximum amount of time you can receive temporary wage benefits—you’ll need to be assessed.
The doctor performs a number of tests to figure out how much of a permanent impairment or disability you have. Florida has developed its own standards, outlined in the Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Guidelines. Your doctor looks at your range of motion, psychological injuries, aggravation of pre-existing injuries, functional abilities, surgically treated injuries, and other factors.
How Your Rating Impacts Your Compensation
The doctor assigns you a percentage that shows how much function you have lost due to your workplace injury. Florida state law entitles injured employees to two weeks of benefits for each percentage point up to 10 percent.
From 11 to 15 percent, an injured worker gets three weeks of benefits per percentage point.
From 16 to 20 percent, you are entitled to four weeks of pay per percentage point.
For each percentage point at or above 21 percent, you receive six weeks of benefits.
Benefits amount to 75 percent of your regular pay for permanent impairment or 80 percent of your regular pay for temporary impairment.
Florida’s standards for disability ratings are complex and highly detailed, which is why it’s essential to work with a doctor with extensive experience in this area. A second opinion may be necessary if you or the workers’ compensation insurance provider disagrees with the first doctor’s assessment.
We’re Here to Help You Navigate Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Whether you’re facing temporary or permanent impairment, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the benefits you deserve. Reach out to Scott J. Sternberg & Associates at 561-687-5660 to schedule a time to discuss your legal needs at our West Palm Beach office.