disability rating scale for workers comp

Louisiana Impairment Rating Scale

Have you ever heard of an impairment rating scale?

When you get hurt at work, your employer may be responsible for paying some of your expenses while you cannot work. This could include lost wages and medical bills. We call this worker’s compensation. This money does not come directly from your employer but from their insurance company. 

The state of Louisiana requires most employers to carry worker’s compensation insurance. Sometimes, the insurance company your employer has insurance with will offer you a settlement. This means that you will get one lump sum of money rather than monthly benefits. You take this settlement in exchange for waiving your claim to benefits in the future. This settlement depends on an impairment rating, which your treating physician decides. 

In this post, our worker’s compensation experts at Gordon & Gordon will answer all your questions about the impairment rating scale. 

What is the Impairment Rating Scale?

Before we get into specifics about impairment ratings, let’s talk about what part this scale plays in the worker’s compensation process.

It is helpful for employers and insurance companies to determine the severity of an employee’s injury. Some of the key questions during a Louisiana worker’s compensation claim are:

  • Is the employee unable to return to work because of their injury?    
  • Can the employee return to some other type of work, such as light-duty work?

To determine what is in its best interests, an insurance company will seek to assign an impairment rating to an employee. 

When an insurance company seeks out an impairment rating, it is because they are going to offer a settlement to the employee. To know the size of the settlement they should offer, the insurance company has to answer those two questions above. When answering these questions, being able to place a numeric rating on the employee’s injury is extremely useful.

For this reason, insurance companies use an impairment rating scale. 

What Is An Impairment?

We’ve talked about what an impairment rating is and why it is useful in a worker’s compensation case. We’ll also briefly discuss what Louisiana law considers an impairment. 

Louisiana law defines impairment as a medical problem that affects the employee’s bodily functioning. The impairment must also prevent the employee from using their body in the way they did before the injury. 

An impairment could be:

  • Physical or mental in nature
  • Caused by an injury or illness
  • Permanent or temporary
  • Severe or mild 

How Does the Impairment Rating Scale Work?

As we talked about earlier, impairment ratings provide an estimate of an employee’s physical and mental health. 

Doctors will assign impairment ratings on a sliding scale of 0 to 100.

There are different ratings for an injured body part and then for the body as a whole. Your arm may have a high impairment rating, meaning the injury is very severe. But if the rest of your body is healthy, your whole body impairment rating may be smaller. 

The goal of the impairment rating scale is so the insurance company can determine if you will return to work. If you cannot return to work, the insurance company may seek to give you a settlement. Thus, if your impairment rating is particularly high, the insurance company may offer you a settlement. 

When this becomes the case, the insurance company will negotiate a settlement based on your former wages, as well as your age.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

In a worker’s compensation case, you’ll hear the term “maximum medical improvement” or MMI thrown around a lot. In many cases, doctors will not assign an impairment rating until you reach MMI.

What this means is that you must reach a point where further treatment will not improve your situation. There aren’t surgeries or medicines that will make you more able to return to work.    

What is the Difference Between Impairment and Disability?

In some cases, there isn’t any difference between impairment and disability. In fact, some states refer to the impairment rating scale as the disability rating scale. 

But in Louisiana worker’s compensation, impairment and disability are not always the same. 

Above, we listed the definition of an impairment as a medical condition. Impairment refers to the loss of functionality in the body; it refers to the actual injury. 

Disability, alternatively, is a legal term that refers to the employee’s ability to return to work. When an employee sustains a total or partial disability, it does not necessarily mean they have a disability in the physical sense. In this context, disability means they cannot return to their old job.

For example, let’s say that somehow, an office worker and a warehouse worker sustain the same back injury. Because they have the same injury, they have the same impairment. They have both lost the same level of functionality in the same part of their body. 

But if the office worker can return to work, he does not have a disability in the legal sense. It is entirely possible for an office worker to do their job with minimal recovery after a back injury. Therefore the office worker may have an impairment, but not a disability.

The same is not true for a warehouse worker, who may engage in heavy lifting frequently in their job. With the exact same impairment, the warehouse worker may also have a disability. The warehouse worker will most likely receive different benefits

The Impairment Rating Scale and Louisiana Worker’s Comp Settlements 

Most Louisiana worker’s compensation claims don’t require impairment ratings. If the insurance company plans to simply pay out monthly benefits, they don’t need an impairment rating. When an insurance company seeks out an impairment rating, it is because they are considering a settlement. 

The insurance company will use this impairment rating during settlement negotiation.

It’s also important to remember that other states require impairment ratings more frequently than Louisiana. When you are dealing with an insurance company that operates in multiple states, they may require an impairment rating whether Louisiana does or not. 

Contact Gordon & Gordon

Insurance companies will use the impairment rating scale to justify the settlement they are offering you. But how do you know if that settlement is what’s best for you?

That’s where we come in. Gordon & Gordon have extensive experience in negotiating worker’s compensation claims. For more information about impairment ratings and insurance settlements, call Gordon & Gordon at 318.716.HELP. You can also leave us a message on our website.

Bodily Injury and Personal Injury

Shreveport Attorney Explains Important Differences Between Bodily Injury and Personal Injury

When injury types must be classified for the purpose of pursuing an insurance claim or filing a civil suit, it’s important to differentiate the differences between bodily injury and personal injury.

Civil Injury Claims and Lawsuits in Louisiana

Though they are often used interchangeably, when an injury victim wants to receive monetary compensation for their damages, the legal definitions and implications determine what’s required and how to proceed civilly. If you are considering pursuing a personal injury claim, understanding the differences could improve your chance of recovery. The attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm explain the differences here.

What is Considered Bodily Injury in Louisiana

Under Louisiana law, the bodily injury means tangible injuries such as bleeding, bruises, lacerations, broken bones, paralysis, amputations and fatalities. In some cases, it may include emotional or psychiatric injury. A bodily injury means physical damage to a person’s body but caused under different circumstances than when a personal injury occurs. In legal terms it is defined as a cut, abrasion, bruise, bruise burn or disfigurement; severe and disabling pain; illness; impairment of body function; or any injury to the body caused by someone else under certain circumstances or incidents. Under the United States criminal code, bodily injury describes injuries that result in specific physical damage or sexual abuse, all compensable in civil proceedings. For instance, in vehicle accidents, bodily injury liability insurance companies pay compensation for the injuries of other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians in cases where the insured is to blame for an accident. When a civil lawsuit is pursued against an individual, these same definitions apply. In both an insurance claim and bodily injury civil lawsuit, you are entitled to monetary compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, medical treatment, rehabilitation, and other medically related costs. In addition, you may receive compensation for future loss of income, disfigurement, amputation, permanent disability, and other impairments.

What is Considered Personal Injury in Louisiana

When a person has been injured because an individual or entity has acted in a negligent, reckless, careless or intentional manner, it is considered a personal injury. One difference between personal injury and bodily injury is that the harm doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical wound. Personal injury civil rules apply for the following types of incidents: Accidents that may include vehicle collisions, property liability such as slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice and other similar incidents. Defective products qualify as personal injury when a consumer product, equipment or drugs were irresponsibly marketed and/or inadequately tested and caused person harm even when there was no conscious intention to injure. Defamation when damaging, untrue statements were made to harm a person’s reputation and/or livelihood. “Intentional“ criminal acts when a person’s intentional conduct caused injuries to a victim such as assault and battery and other physical attacks including homicide. When a victim’s case qualifies for personal injury litigation—tort action–, they are entitled to file a civil lawsuit for monetary compensation for their losses. The courts provide for an injured person under tort law to be “made whole” financially after they’ve suffered harm because of another’s negligent, reckless, careless or intentional actions.

Louisiana Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury

When an accident causes a fatality, a surviving loved one has the right to make a personal injury claim and sue for the losses created by the death. The Statute of Limitations Are Strict—Missing A Deadline Can Permanently Bar You From Achieving Any Monetary Settlement In Louisiana, you are required to file a personal injury or bodily injury claim within one year from the time you were harmed. If you fail to make a claim within this time limitation, you will very likely permanently lose the right to file a civil lawsuit.

No-Upfront Costs for Personal Injury Cases in Shreveport, Bossier and Mansfield

Gordon & Gordon Law Firm brings 30 years’ combined personal and bodily injury experience to the fight for your just compensation throughout Louisiana. As the founding partners, attorneys Daniel and Stephen Gordon and their legal team make a concerted effort to thoroughly understand your unique circumstances, always treating you with compassion and sensitivity during this challenging time in your life. As lifetime Louisiana residents, our firm takes great pride in treating our clients with the utmost respect as we provide highly skilled representation towards the most optimal outcome. And because we know you have too many concerns already, you’ll never have to pay us a cent up-front. If we take on your case, we’ll cover all the costs of preparing your case. Only when you get paid, will we get paid a pre-agreed fee.

Contact Gordon & Gordon Law for Personal or Bodily Injury Claims

For help with the complexities of filing an injury claim, your odds of winning compensation are increased when you have a Louisiana personal injury attorney to guide you through the complex and confusing process, filings, proceedings, and deadlines. For a prompt, personal appointment, call us today at 318-716-HELP (318-716-4357) for your free, no-obligation consultation with our personal injury team. Our offices are located in Shreveport, Bossier City or Mansfield. If you prefer to email us a confidential message, send it here on our contact form. But if you’re too injured to visit us, we’ll come to you whether you’re recovering at home or are in a hospital or rehabilitation facility.

Personal Injury Lawyers Gordon & Gordon Shreveport Bossier Mansfield LA

What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?

When you are seriously injured or a loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence or criminal behavior, your life may have been turned upside down. What ‘was’ your life has drastically changed, and your ability to productively function, experience pleasure and have healthy, loving relationships are negatively altered. It’s not fair, and you may have a right to seek monetary compensation for some measure of justice.

Financial Settlement For Injuries in Louisiana

To restore your life, or in some cases just to go on, requires money. While this is obvious, how to be financially compensated for your injuries isn’t quite so clear. Acquiring a financial settlement for your injuries is a complicated, time-consuming process, and without the help of a skilled, highly experienced personal injury attorney, you may not be able to recover what is just.

To determine whether you have a personal injury lawsuit or claim, you must have suffered a physical or emotional injury that can be remedied by payment of money damages. While a physical injury can impact you financially, many times these events affect victims psychologically who then experience depression, anxiety, insomnia and a diminished capacity and ability to experience a positive quality of life.

What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?

Winning rightful compensation for your injuries so you can get on with your life requires many complex steps and a highly competent personal injury attorney. For a personal injury attorney to successfully negotiate with an insurance company or, if it becomes necessary, file a civil court lawsuit, they must prepare and proceed with several detailed, complex steps including:

  • Careful review of the details surrounding your injuries
  • Gathering witness statements either through already existing written reports or witness interviews arranged by the attorney
  • Obtaining any accident photographs
  • Hiring any necessary medical experts
  • Assembling and reviewing all official documents including:
    • Police reports
    • Medical records
    • Medical bills
    • Rehabilitation expenses
    • Psychological reports
  • Accessing employment records showing wages lost because of your injuries
  • Obtaining income reduction documentation related to your injuries
  • Gathering evidence of any disability accommodations for your home and/or vehicle
  • Examining your diminished quality of life, including loss of familial companionship and support
  • Negotiating with an insurance company to settle without a civil court lawsuit
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit when necessary
  • Preparing for a trial, mediation or arbitration
  • Maneuvering the trial process or managing mediation or arbitration

A personal injury attorney competent to handle your case will be able to perform all these steps whenever applicable to work toward a successful monetary settlement for your injuries.

Contact Gordon and Gordon, Louisiana’s Top Personal Injury Attorneys

The personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm care personally about the well-being of our clients and handle all our cases with care, attentiveness, and skill. For us, our greatest reward is when we help our injured clients restore or recreate their lives through adequate and appropriate monetary compensation.

With over 30 years’ combined experience representing Northwest Louisiana victims injured because of an individual’s, corporation or government agency’s carelessness, recklessness or criminal conduct, we have the skills and resources to negotiate and fight for your fair compensation. Gordon & Gordon’s personal injury attorneys have documented success winning multi-millions for our clients.

Because time restrictions limit the pursuit of personal injury compensation, time is critical. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

For your free, respectful and compassionate consultation with our Northwest Louisiana personal injury team, call 318-716-HELP (318-716-4357) today to schedule a meeting. We have offices in Shreveport, Bossier City, and Mansfield. During our meeting, we’ll listen carefully to your story and advise you how you may be able to restore your life or obtain some measure of justice through monetary compensation from the person or entity that caused your injuries or the death of your loved one.

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