2017 Workers Compensation Newsletter - Fourth Quarter

Can an impairment rating be submitted into evidence? How effective are the ratings in mitigating permanency exposure?

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 see memo here.