LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney John Francis Kennedy | Jan 28, 2011

What is an Impairment Rating Evaluation?

What exactly is an impairment rating evaluation. This is a special type of medical examination that the employer or its insurance company is allowed to get after you have received 104 weeks of benefits. It is very important that if you are asked to attend an impairment rating evaluation with the doctor that you talk to an attorney immediately. But basically an IRE is a medical examination, that is similar to an independent medical examination, but can have a very significant effect on your workers compensation wage loss benefits and might possibly limit your benefits to 500 weeks. The employer must first ask the Bureau of workers compensation to assign a doctor that is certified to perform impairment ratings. After the examination of the doctor uses a book called the Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. The doctor is required to use the most recent edition of this guide book which is published by the American Medical Association. After the doctor does a physical examination she will consult the guide book to determine exactly what your disability rating is according to the guide book. Basically each injury that you have sustained on the job is given a number between zero and 100. There are other calculations that the doctor uses to then arrive at a percentage of disability. Here is where it gets very important. If your number is less than 50%, then you are partially disabled, and your wage loss benefits might be limited to 500 weeks starting with the date of the examination. If your disability is greater than 50% then you are permanently disabled. This is a complicated area of law at the current time. You also must be at maximum medical improvement before the doctor can perform an impairment rating evaluation. You should immediately talk to an attorney who specializes in workers compensation if you receive a request to attend an impairment rating evaluation.

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