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How Do North Carolina Physicians Calculate Worker Impairment Ratings?

February 28 , 2022

At the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A., our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys understand that when workers are injured, they may have an injury that affects them for a lifetime.

If an injured worker recovers and can return to work at their previous earnings, a workers’ compensation claim is often valued based on the rating or percentage of impairment.

Our Mecklenburg County workers’ compensation attorneys work for our North Carolina clients to review the rating used to calculate their impairment when they are seeking compensation for a permanent injury.

What are the Guidelines for Calculating Worker Impairment Ratings in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Industrial Commission has developed a guide for physicians to rate industrial accidents and to provide a reference point in making impairment evaluations.

Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law, the physician rates injuries according to the percentage of impairment of the affected part of the body.

It is the physician’s responsibility to determine what percentage of a body part or body system is impaired based on the schedule of injuries, rate, and period of compensation, including those to the spine, arm(s), leg(s), foot, toe(s), hand, finger(s), vision, or hearing.

Injured workers have the right to be compensated for their lost wages during the healing period, which is 2/3rds of their average weekly wage which includes wages, bonuses, overtime, and commission income until they reach maximum medical improvement.

If the worker were earning $900.00 a week, the injury rate of pay would be $600.00 for the duration outlined.

When workers reach maximum medical improvement and have suffered an impairment listed in the North Carolina statute, their physician will calculate a permanent partial disability rating.

The rating examines the extent of the injury, which could include the limited ability to use a body part or an inability to use the body system.

These ratings are calculated using the North Carolina Industrial Rating Guidelines.

As Martha explains, if a construction worker is hurt on the job, and injures their ribs and knee, the injuries will be rated separately.

If the ribs fully heal, they will receive an injury rating of 0%.

However, if the worker had knee surgery where part of the meniscus was removed, the impairment rating could range from a minimum of 10% and up, based on the physician’s evaluation.

If the physician lists the impairment rating at 10%, the calculation of payment for the injury would equal 200 weeks x .10 or 20 weeks. The payout would be $600 x 20 weeks or $12,000.

Am I Required to Accept the Impairment Rating?

Once the impairment rating is assigned, the injured worker still has options. This is especially true if the worker has not returned to work or is unable to return to work.

If the worker believes he or she suffered a significant loss of wage-earning capacity or is likely to need significant medical treatment in the future, they should consider each of their options before accepting the payment of a rating.

The best way to determine if the impairment rating is fair is to speak with an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

Our workers’ compensation law firm founder and managing attorney, Martha Ramsay, has been giving a voice to the injured for more than 25 years and can help you determine the benefits you are entitled to after suffering a workplace injury in North Carolina.

Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Specialists in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Ramsay Law Firm, P.A.

Our dedicated Charlotte workers’ compensation law firm provides free consultations to all injured North Carolina employees by calling (704) 376-1616 or contacting us online

Our Board-Certified Workers’ Compensation attorneys and a skilled team of lawyers and support staff in Charlotte are here to manage each detail of your case, so you can focus on your recovery.

All Workers Welcome. Ask Martha for Help Today.

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