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Doug Landau
Doug Landau
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Permanent injury ratings, what do they mean?

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In a personal injury case and workers compensation claim one of the important pieces of information for the judge and insurance companies is the "permanent disability rating." This "permanency percentage rating" helps quantify the losses caused by a car crash, dog attack or on the job accident.

Under the American Medical Association ("AMA") Guidelines for impairment ratings, doctors look at several factors in order to arrive at an objective, reproducable percentage rating. These factors include:

  1. (1) Strength
  2. (2) Range of Motion & flexibility
  3. (3) Sensation, and
  4. (4) Pain.

As an example, an injured plaintiff may have sustained lifelong injury to their thumb as the result of a dog bite. The treating doctor may give a large permanency rating to the thumb, and a smaller rating to the hand and even to the arm, if it they are also affected. This is because the thumb is a part of the hand, and the hand is a lesser part of the upper extremity. These rating figures can be useful in settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation and in selection of jury instructions. Experienced trial lawyers know how to seek and use permanency ratings to help permanently injured clients get full compensation for what has been taken from them by their injuries