Workers Compensation Newsletter 2017 – Quarter 4

Can an impairment rating be submitted into evidence?  How effective are the ratings in mitigating permanency exposure? The answer varies throughout jurisdictions so the team at Hennessy & Roach has provided what you need to know state-by-state below.

 

ILLINOIS

Yes.  In Illinois, for injury dates after September 1, 2011, the parties may submit an AMA Impairment rating pursuant to the most recent edition of the AMA Guidelines (now 6th edition, second printing) for consideration by the arbitrator in determining permanent partial disability.  Prior to this date, such impairment ratings were not legally relevant to permanency determinations.  If admitted into evidence, the arbitrator must weigh the impairment rating along with four other factors (see discussion) in determining permanent partial disability.  To date, the impairment ratings have not lived up to an across-the-board, meaningful decrease in permanency awards but have more modestly helped to lower permanency settlement values and trial awards.  A case-by-case analysis is necessary to properly measure the true impact of an impairment rating on a given injury. Please review the memo here.

MISSOURI

Missouri Workers’ Compensation Statutes do not have a provision for impairment ratings.  However, there are “ratings” that are given by physicians that can be introduced into evidence to address permanency, and thereby in some instances mitigate permanency exposure.   Please review the memo here.

INDIANA

Yes. An impairment rating may be submitted into evidence in Indiana; however, its effectiveness in mitigating permanency exposure in Indiana is limited. Please review the memo here.

WISCONSIN

No. An AMA impairment rating may not be submitted into evidence in Wisconsin. Wisconsin has developed its own system for rating permanency utilizing statutory minimums found in Wisconsin’s administrative code. See, DWD 80.32. These statutory minimums are used in conjunction with statutory injury schedules to determine permanency exposure in Wisconsin Workers Compensation cases.  See, Wis. Stat 102.52 (scheduled injuries) and Wis Stat 102.44(3) (non-scheduled injuries). Please review the memo here.

NEBRASKA

Yes, an impairment rating can be submitted into evidence in Nebraska, and they are effective in mitigating permanency, so long as an employee has not suffered a permanent loss-of-earning as a result of a body-as-a-whole injury. Please review the memo here.

IOWA

Yes, an impairment rating can be submitted into evidence in Iowa, and they are effective in mitigating permanency, so long as an employee has not suffered an industrial disability (Iowa’s version of a body-as-a-whole injury).  Iowa recently amended its laws, removing shoulder injuries from consideration for industrial disability and considering them under scheduled member injuries. Please review the memo here.

Kansas

Yes, an impairment rating can be submitted into evidence in Kansas and is effective in mitigating permanency exposure, so long as the rating is determined under the AMA Guides Sixth Edition and the employee has not suffered a permanent and total disability. Please review the memo here.