Suffering a work-related injury can be absolutely devastating. It can also leave you with plenty of questions. In particular, you may be wondering how your workers’ comp injury rating is calculated in North Carolina.
Understanding the process can help you receive the compensation you deserve and the justice you need.
Here, we’ll discuss the key factors that go into determining your impairment rating and how it impacts your workers’ comp disability rating. That said, it’s best to contact a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm for assistance with your particular case.
Why Are Impairment Ratings Important?
Impairment ratings determine the amount of disability benefits you’ll receive. This includes situations involving temporary total disability, permanent total disability, temporary partial disability, and permanent partial disability payments.
Because uncontested impairment ratings can become permanent, your rating will have a tremendous effect on your future quality of life and income.
How Are Impairment Ratings Calculated in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) calculates impairment rates for workers in the state. To do so, it developed a guide that uses a standardized rating system to evaluate the severity of your work-related injury.
This system takes into account the affected body part, the severity of the injury, and the impact on your overall quality of life.
The NCIC ratings guide assigns a percentage value to each body part that depends on the severity of the injury. For example, the loss of a finger is worth fewer percentage points than the loss of a hand.
Once the body part receives a value, a physician measures the degree of injury, with a higher number indicating more severe impairment.
Let’s consider an example from the guide.
For anyone who has a shortening of their leg because of an injury, the NCIC’s impairment guide assigns the following impairment ratings:
- 4% impairment for shortening of ½ inch;
- 8% impairment for a 1-inch shortening;
- 24% impairment for a shortening of 2 inches; and
- 40% impairment for a shortening of 3 inches.
A physician can also include several miscellaneous factors to complete their evaluation for how the injury impacts your overall quality of life. This includes factors such as pain, loss of mobility, and muscle weakness. The more severe the impact on your quality of life, the higher your impairment rating will be.
What Is a Good Impairment Rating?
The only “good” impairment rating is one that accurately reflects the severity of your injury and the impact it has on your life. It’s important to note that a higher impairment rating does not necessarily mean more compensation.
The NCIC also considers your pre-injury earning capacity and the impact of your injury on your ability to work when determining your workers’ comp disability rating.
How to Get a Higher Impairment Rating
If your workers’ comp impairment rating does not accurately reflect the severity of your injury, don’t wait. Remember that your impairment will have significant and permanent effects on your future.
So you should settle for nothing less than a fully accurate impairment rating. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate the appeals process. They can also present evidence on your behalf that supports a higher impairment rating.
We Can Help You Get a Fair Workers’ Comp Rating
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury, getting the workers’ comp impairment rating you need to receive the compensation you deserve is essential. At EMP Law, our attorneys have decades of experience guiding clients through all kinds of law.
They can apply their grit, experience, and determination for you to help you get the impairment rating you deserve. Don’t gamble with your future and settle for a sub-par impairment rating.