What Is a Disability Rating for Workers’ Comp?
When going through the workers’ comp claim process, it is important to understand all the aspects of what the policy covers so that you are prepared. If you become injured on the job, you must report the injury to your employer so that the claim can be reported. Once you receive medical care for your injury, the doctor will usually assign what is known as a “disability rating.” According to CA Workers’ Compensation Attorney, a Los Angeles workers’ comp attorney, this is meant to determine how severe your injury is for workers’ comp purposes. The rating shows a percentage of how detrimental said injury is to the entirety of your body. This can help your employer determine what the next appropriate course of action is. Some injuries are minor, and you may return to work on a lighter workload. Other injuries require rest at home, or even inpatient treatment.
What Is the Purpose of Disability Ratings?
To truly understand the rating that is assigned to your injury, imagine that your body is 100% functional while fully healthy. Once you are injured, this percentage goes down and can permanently hinder your work ability in the future. It is up to the physician to determine this rating after a proper medical exam. Once you have been treated and brought to your maximum health potential, this is when the disability rating can be assigned. The rating can determine the difference between a disability and an impairment, which is important, because your wages will likely be impacted. The two are different because one is temporary and the other is permanent, as explained by Chron.
If you feel that you can return to work, yet you have a disability rating after an injury, you can still approach your employer regarding a “return to light duty” plan. Not all companies are required to have one in place, but if your workplace does, you might still be able to keep your same job while doing lighter work. Again, this depends on whether or not your place of employment is participating in such a program. It also depends on how severe your injury was (whether you are disabled or impaired). Knowing your next step after a workplace injury is important, so make sure that you understand your disability rating assignment and what that means for your future.
What Are the Levels of Disability?
Becoming disabled is not always the same experience for everybody. In fact, there are four different categories of disability when it comes to workers’ comp, and they range in severity:
- Temporary partial: This type of injury will limit you from performing certain duties at your workplace for a limited amount of time. With this type of disability, you are likely able to be up and moving, potentially on a return to light duty plan.
- Temporary total: With this type of disability, you are unable to work, but only for a temporary period of time. Due to your injury, you will likely need to be on bedrest, either at home or in a medical facility.
- Permanent partial: The result of your injury is a permanent ailment that you will have to deal with from now on. This is likely something minor, still allowing you to work, but likely at a downgraded level of tasks.
- Permanent total: The most devastating of the disability types, this one means that you will never be able to return to your job (or any others that are similar). Your injury is so severe that you must quit or find another line of work.
Once your claim has been settled, you will begin to receive benefits that coincide with your level of disability. When most people hear the term “disabled,” they might be under the misconception that you are unable to work at all. As illustrated by the different levels, that is not always the case.
Will a Disability Rating Hinder Future Jobs?
If you decide to switch jobs, and you now have a disability rating, a concern will likely be whether or not to disclose this on your resume. According to Lawyerlocator, some employers do run reports that disclose such information. A lot of the time, an employer will run a background check, and any prior litigation will show up here. Your chances at obtaining a new job should not be automatically hindered if this happens, but keep in mind that some companies will care about these lawsuits. If you are asked about your history, it is best to be open and honest with your potential new employer. Because even if a report isn’t initially run, they have the right to run one at any given time. If you still feel wary about your case, consider obtaining legal advice from a lawyer who specializes in workers’ comp law.