Torrance Assessment of Impairment Ratings

The state uses the Disability Evaluation Unit (DEU) to match your workers’ compensation injury to the physical and mental medical conditions that it describes. This comparison aids you, your insurance claims adjuster, and the administrative law judge, if one is involved, to determine your permanent disability rating. Other factors used in your Torrance assessment of impairment rating include the one your physician uses from the American Medical Association (AMA) Guide, your age, and your occupation.

The assessment is coupled with other information to determine the amount of money you will receive in a disability check to compensate you for your inability to continue your present course. You may still be able to work part-time or at a less taxing job and receive partial disability payments to supplement your wages. To understand how impairment ratings might be assessed in your situation, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Silberman & Lam today.

Process for Assessing Impairment

In Torrance, a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) is often involved in discerning an injured employee’s disability rating unless the injuries fall under California Labor Code Section 4662(a), which presumes an employee is permanently and totally disabled if they:

  • Lose both hands
  • Lose sight in both eyes
  • Are almost or totally paralyzed
  • Suffer a profound traumatic brain injury

The initial treating physician, usually an employee’s family doctor, uses the AMA Guide to assign a disability rating to each part of the body, which is called whole body impairment.

Varying Considerations for Disability

A Torrance physician must assess an individual case to decide an impairment rating for a person. You are considered partially disabled when your impairment rating is less than 100 percent and permanently, or totally, disabled when your rating is 100 percent. For instance, if a construction worker falls from a scaffolding and breaks his back, leaving him with limited movement from the waist down, the physician could order a battery of imaging tests, such as MRIs, and would then write a report that the worker has a 60 percent whole person impairment.

The physician would then consider the ways the injury will affect the worker’s ability to do the same job in the future and determine a permanent disability ratings schedule (PDRS) that also factors age and if any outside influences contributed to the injuries. The report is communicated to the insurance claims adjuster.

Factors for Impairment

Other considerations are crucial for a physician to calculate. Some factors include:

  • Calculating the permanent disability rating
  • What body parts are compromised in relation to the job
  • Converting the rating into the amount of money the disabled employee will receive each month
  • The employee’s age, with older employees scoring higher for impairment because they are less likely to retrain for another occupation
  • Following the Department of Industrial Relations guidelines by increasing the whole person impairment rating by 40 percent to align the medical impairment level with the job-related impairment

Injured employees are entitled to dispute the level of permanent disability the adjuster accepts and could bring in a QME to comment. A Torrance lawyer could appear with the adjuster before an administrative judge, who will hear testimony, review evidence, and formally request the Disability Evaluation Unit information to inform the court about the assessment of impairment ratings.

Let an Assessment of Impairment Ratings Attorney in Torrance Work for You

When you are applying for permanent disability, your work-related injury must be assessed to determine your impaired level, which influences the amount of your monthly disability check.

The Torrance assessment of impairments ratings is a complicated process that involves insurance adjusters, your physician, a Qualified Medical Evaluator, and possibly an administrative judge. It should also involve an experienced attorney who can fight for the best outcome for you. Contact our firm today for an initial consultation with our diligent legal professionals.