If you have a work-related (WC) injury, you may qualify for worker’s compensation benefits and ultimately get a disability rating.

Submit your claim

First, in order for you to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must file your claim on the DWC-1 form provided by your employer. If you qualify to file a claim, the benefits you receive could include “compensation” to cover your medical expenses, therapies, surgery or rehabilitation, as well as a portion of your lost wages among other benefits, and finally an award based on the value percentage of your injury.

Value of your injury as a percentage

The value of your injury is usually obtained with a Forensic Medical Evaluation that determines your ability to perform the same activity that you performed prior to your work accident. Some aspects to consider is the degree of incapacity for work, which is defined as follows: “Incapacity” as the inability to obtain a full salary due to a work-related injury or occupational disease. The American Medical Association (AMA) considers “Disability” to be an alteration in health or a change in the normal functioning of the body.

Grade or Percentage Assignment

If your consulting physician is appropriately certified, you will be assigned a rating for the disability (rating) or impairment based on the level of impact it has on activities associated with the development of daily living. The doctor will not be able to provide a rating or percentage of disability until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Each state has different requirements for certification. For example, in some states, only specialists certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties can provide disability ratings.

Classified by types of disability

There are four types of disability:

Temporary Total Disability – The employee typically returns to work without receiving full worker’s compensation benefits.
Temporary Partial Disability: The employee receives benefits for a disability that prevents him or her from returning to full-time work, requiring part-time, less demanding, or restricted work.
Permanent partial disability: the employee returns to work despite a non-serious permanent disability.
Permanent Total Disability – The employee is severely disabled and will not be able to return to work.

If you were injured at work and are in any of these cases, it is very likely that you will need legal advice or representation to obtain the benefits to which you are entitled, so it is advisable to contact a lawyer dedicated to compensation cases at worker (Workers’ Comp). This article is not intended to serve as legal advice. It is for informational purposes only.