What is Permanent Partial Impairment and How Is It Calculated?
Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) Rating
The last thing to happen in your approved workers compensation claim is the issuing of a “Permanent Partial Impairment,” or “PPI” rating. PPI refers to the loss of the function of a portion of your body, or the body as a whole.
PPI is issued after Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
A PPI is assessed after the employee has reached “maximum medical improvement,” or “MMI.” MMI means that the injury has healed as much as possible. Once you reach this point, a PPI rating usually will be assessed by the treating physician, but sometimes you are sent out to another doctor. You may be first sent for an hours-long “Functional Capacity Evaluation” so the doctor can get a good idea of your full capabilities.
How a PPI is determined
Physicians use the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 5th or 6th edition, in evaluating your impairment rating. A PPI rating is stated by the doctor in terms of a percentage of loss to a body part or the whole body. For example a 10% loss of function to the arm below the elbow will translate to a 4% loss to the whole person under the Indiana system, whereas the Kentucky system will rely on the 5th Edition of the Guides to translate that loss into a whole-person rating.
How compensation is determined
In Indiana, compensation for impairment is paid according to a statutory schedule. This means that everyone gets the same award for the same degree of impairment. In Kentucky, the calculation of payment for PPI is based on the employee’s wages. This means that in Kentucky higher paid employees will be paid more for their injuries than employees who are paid a lower wage and have the same injury.
Doctors are often incentivized to give low PPIs
All too often the doctors who are assigned to workers compensation cases will give you a rating that is undeservingly low. It is not all that surprising since these doctors know who is paying their bills. When that happens, the attorneys here at Klezmer Maudlin can usually work to negotiate a more favorable rating on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, we will send you for another evaluation with a doctor who will more fairly judge your injuries and impairments. We can then use the doctors’ opinions to help bring your claim to a close either by negotiation or in front of a judge.
Above all else, stay focused on your own recovery and consult with an experienced workers comp attorney when necessary
If you’ve been injured at work and would like to consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney, contact us at Klezmer Maudlin. We care about fighting for the rights of injured persons and workers throughout the state of Indiana. With offices in Evansville, Indianapolis, Lafayette, New Harmony, and Jeffersonville (Louisville, KY), we are well-equipped to handle your case.