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You are probably aware that your work-related injury qualifies you to apply for worker’s compensation benefits.

But did you know that your injury is subject to a rating system? The rating will relate to the impact the injury exerts on your daily life outside of work.

The meaning of impairment

According to the American Medical Association, an impairment is a change in health or deviation from the way the body normally functions. Workers’ compensation rates impairments as permanent impairments. This refers to conditions that have reached “maximum medical improvement” and are not expected to change within the next year.

The definition of disability

Workers’ compensation insurers see disability as a work-related injury or occupational disease that reduces the wage-earning ability of the claimant. There are four types of disability:

  • Temporary total disability
  • Temporary partial disability
  • Permanent partial disability
  • Permanent total disability

The rating system for workers’ compensation

Physicians certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties may perform disability ratings. If, as an injured employee, your functional ability continues to decline after you reach maximum medical improvement, a certified doctor will assign you a disability rating according to North Carolina guidelines.

What to expect

If you cannot return to full duty but can take part-time work, you may receive temporary partial disability benefits. If you sustain a permanent impairment but are still able to return to work, you may qualify for permanent partial disability. Each case is unique. Even if the workers’ compensation insurer denies benefits to you the first time you file a claim, it is well worth your time to reapply.