Greenville Assessment Of Impairment Ratings
Serious injuries often require a significant amount of costly medical treatment and physical therapy. Once an injured individual undergoes all necessary medical treatment, several physicians may rate them for permanency. This rating is done by way of a permanency evaluation or independent medical evaluation (IME).
The permanency evaluation is usually favorable to the injured person. The IME doctor’s rating, however, is usually unfavorable and downplays any permanency. A capable workers’ compensation lawyer can answer all of your legal questions about Greenville assessment of impairment ratings and can assess their meaning for you.
What are Permanency Evaluations?
The doctor who performs the permanency evaluation will assign a certain amount – or percentage – of permanent impairment to an injured person’s body. For example, the rating doctor may find that as a result of a work injury, the worker sustained a ten percent whole person impairment to the left leg or a five percent whole person impairment to the right arm.
Who is the IME Doctor?
Once the injured person has undergone a permanency evaluation, the employer, insurance adjuster, or defense attorney will then have the worker rated for permanency. This type of rating is an independent medical examination or IME.
However, the term independent medical examination is actually a misnomer, since it is anything but independent. In fact, the defense attorney or insurance adjuster will almost always choose a physician who will provide the injured worker with a low permanency rating.
Relationship Between Insurance Companies and IME Doctors
In most cases, insurance companies have ongoing professional relationships with these so-called IME doctors and refer them considerable business every year. Many IME doctors make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, simply by rating injured workers and providing expert testimony for insurance companies and they are insured at trial.
Many of these doctors have not performed a surgery or other medical procedure in twenty years or more. Therefore, these doctors will write favorable reports for the insurance companies. It is not unusual for an IME doctor to find zero percent permanency – even when the medical evidence clearly suggests otherwise.
Assessing and Evaluating Impairment Ratings in Greenville
When it comes to Greenville assessment of impairment ratings, it is not unusual for one rating to be very high and the other rating to be very low. IME doctors, who are essentially working for the insurance company, will frequently bring up degenerative changes on imaging studies and prior or preexisting injuries. They do this to downplay the level of permanency a person sustained in an accident.
When a fact finder assesses these ratings, it is not uncommon for them to average the two ratings together or meet at the mid-point. Overall, the fact finder will look to:
- The injured person’s current complaints and symptoms
- Activities the injured person can no longer do
- Activities which are much harder for the injured person to do since the date of accident
- Limitations on the injured person’s ability to work at the same job
- Prior or preexisting medical conditions or injuries
Contacting a Lawyer That Has Experience with Assessment of Impairment Ratings
Different impairment ratings in the same case can range from one extreme to the other. During your permanency evaluation or independent medical examination, it is important to be as clear and concise as possible about your symptoms, injuries, and complaints.
A qualified workers’ compensation lawyer that has experience with Greenville assessment of impairment ratings could explain the reports and results to you and discuss the potential impacts to your workers’ compensation or personal injury case.