The extent of permanent impairment, sometimes referred to as the employee’s “rating,” is based upon the opinion of a physician determined based upon the rating guide published by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
What are the Permanent Partial Disability Ratings?
The NC Workers’ Compensation Act has a “schedule of injuries” that assigns a value to all of your body parts. The value assigned is for 100% loss of that body part.
Schedule of Benefits
The schedule of benefits for 100% impairment of various body parts is as follows:
- Back – 300 weeks
- Arm – 240 weeks
- Hand – 200 weeks
- Foot – 144 weeks
- Leg – 200 weeks
- Eye – 120 weeks
- Thumb – 75 weeks
- First or index finger – 45 weeks
- Second or middle finger – 40 weeks
- Third or ring finger – 25 weeks
- Fourth or little finger – 20 weeks
- Hearing (one ear) – 70 weeks
- Hearing (both ears) – 150 weeks
- Big toe – 35 weeks
- Any other toe – 10 weeks
For example, 100% loss of the use of your arm is worth 240 weeks of benefits at your weekly rate. If you have an injury where you regain 90% use of your arm but still have restrictions and limitations, the doctor would assign a 10% PPD rating and you could elect to receive 10% of 240 weeks or 24 weeks of additional compensation for your injury.
How will you know if you’re receiving all the benefits owed to you?
Many times there are honest differences of opinion among physicians concerning the nature and extent of the worker’s impairment. If you are dissatisfied with the rating given to you by a doctor, you’re entitled to a second opinion by the doctor of your choosing. Your employer is responsible for paying the entire cost of the second opinion.
It is very important to note that this is an election of benefits. Many times a carrier will send a form to a worker that pays out the PPD, but they will not explain that there are other better benefits that an injured worker may be entitled to receive by means of settlement.
Protect your rights
If you receive a Form 26, 26A or Form 21 in the mail DO NOT sign it until you find a disability lawyer or a workmen’s compensation specialist and arrange for him or her to review your case and explain your rights.
We had a recent case where the client came in with a 26A and an offer from her employer
to pay approximately $12,000 for her rating. Over eight weeks, we negotiated her case and reached
a settlement of $75,000 and an additional $56,000 for her
future medical needs.” – Attorney Jesse Shapiro
How does it benefit you to find a disability lawyer?
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Wilson, Reives & Silverman have extensive experience with negotiating settlement and protecting the rights of injured workers. While your carrier may want to just simply a PPD rating, you may be entitled to much more.
It will not cost you anything to come in for a consultation. At Wilson, Reives & Silverman, PLLC, all consultations for workers’ compensation cases are given free of charge.