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Dawn Atkin

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Impairment ratings are numbers from a chart in the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, or the Utah Guides to Permanent Impairment.  They are based on what the MRI shows, the type of surgery done, or range of motion measurements, but have nothing to do with how badly the injury affects your life.  The effect on activities would be a disability rating, and Utah does not use disability ratings in workers' compensation claims.  In addition, Utah does not allow ratings for pain, or with few exceptions, for scars. 
Rather than wonder if the impairment rating is right, call an attorney.  We can usually double check the doctor's rating, and can often provide you a copy of the chart the doctor used.  There is no charge for review of a Permanent Partial Disability Agreement, so why worry?  Give us a call.

Payment for the impairment rating is called permanent partial disability (PPD).  It is calculated by multiplying the impairment rating by 312 to get the number of weeks benefits are to be paid.  The benefit rate is 2/3 of what you were earning at the time of the injury, up to the maximum.  Because the PPD maximum is lower than the TTD maximum it affects many people's benefits.  You can check the maximums by injury date on the Utah Labor Commission Grids here:
An impairment rating does show that there is a permanent injury from the accident which supports lifetime medical care related to the injury, so even a 1% rating is important.

No matter what the impairment rating, if the injury prevents you from returning to work, talk to an attorney about a permanent total disability claim.  The impairment rating does not pay for how the injury affects your life, but when the effect is serious, permanent partial disability looks at those disability factors.  Watch for a detailed post about permanent total disability coming soon.

K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates
(801) 521-2552
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