What does it mean when my doctor provides a permanent impairment rating?
When an employee is injured, he or she is either temporarily totally or temporarily partially disabled. Upon reaching maximum medical improvement, if the employee has a permanent injury, then he or she will be assigned a permanent impairment rating. In Florida, under the Florida Worker’s Compensation Act, the physician relies upon the uniform Florida permanent impairment rating schedule. Thereafter, impairment benefits are paid to the employee. In Longshore and Defense Base Act cases, the physician relies upon the AMA guides to the evaluation of permanent impairment, the American Medical Association guides. Under the Defense Base Act and the Longshore Act, the impairment rating is important for injuries to members, from your toes to just below your hip and from your fingers to just below your shoulder. The impairment rating in a Long Shore and Defense Base Act case does not apply to injuries to your spine, your hips, your shoulder, your head or mental injuries. In those cases, what matters are your work restrictions.