Evaluation of Permanent Disability in Workers Compensation

Knowing how your disability is evaluated and compensated can help you better understand and protect your rights. The evaluation process determines the severity of your permanent disability, which then impacts the compensation you receive.

In Ohio, permanent disability in workers comp is evaluated by a physician based on objective medical evidence of your condition and limitations following maximum medical improvement. Here is what you need to know about the process and why it’s a good idea to have an Ohio workers comp attorney on your side.

Understanding Permanent Disability in Workers Compensation

Permanent disability refers to impairment that isn’t expected to improve with medical treatment. In workers comp, the extent of your permanent disability determines how much compensation you receive.

Your permanent disability is rated based on objective medical evaluations. Doctors examine the severity of your impairment and how much it impacts your ability to work. They consider things like range of motion, strength, and endurance.

The compensation you receive depends on your disability rating and your pre-injury earnings. Generally, the higher your rating and pay, the more compensation you’ll get. Compensation may include payments for permanent impairment as well as lost wages if you can’t return to your usual job.

How Permanent Disability Is Evaluated in the Workers Comp Process

Once your treating doctor decides your condition has stabilized, the workers comp process to determine permanent disability (PD) begins. An evaluating physician will examine you, review your medical records, and determine how much impairment you have to your body parts and systems.

Impairment Rating

The level of impairment is expressed as a percentage, from 0 to 100%, of loss of use of the affected body part. For example, a 25% impairment rating for your back means you have a 25% loss of normal use or function of your back. The impairment rating is calculated using guidelines set by the American Medical Association.

Disability Rating

Your impairment rating is then translated into a disability rating by applying complex legal formulas. The disability rating, also 0 to 100%, represents how much your impairment impacts your ability to work. It accounts for factors like your age, occupation, and modified work options. So, a 25% impairment rating may translate to a higher disability rating, say 35%, if you have limited work options.

some workplace accident result in lifelong impairment

Compensation Offer

Based on your disability rating, the claims administrator will make a comp offer for the PD portion of your claim. The offer amount depends on the state’s workers comp policies. It may be calculated as a percentage of a maximum benefit amount or based on a wage-loss model.

Factors That Determine Your Permanent Disability Rating

Several factors are considered when determining your permanent disability rating. The most significant are:

Nature of Your Injury

The severity and type of your work-related injury play a key role. More serious injuries like loss of limb or vision typically result in higher ratings than sprains or strains. Permanent injuries are rated higher than temporary ones.

Your Age

Your age at the time of injury is considered. Younger workers are expected to suffer longer with their disability, so the same injury may be rated higher for a 25-year-old than a 55-year-old.


Your occupation and how it is impacted is important. If your injury prevents you from returning to your previous occupation, especially if you have limited skills to perform other jobs, your rating may be higher. The physical demands of your pre-injury job are evaluated.

Loss of Earning Capacity

If your injury causes a loss of earning power by limiting your ability to work or advance in your career, your rating may increase. Your post-injury wages are compared to pre-injury wages to determine loss.

Permanent Work Restrictions

Any permanent restrictions on your work activities due to your injury, like limited lifting, walking, etc., are factored in. More severe restrictions usually mean a higher disability rating.

Reach Out to an Experienced Ohio Workers Compensation Lawyer

If you’ve suffered a permanent disability following a workplace accident, you should consider hiring an experienced Ohio workers comp lawyer who can make sure you get the care and benefits you deserve.

Call our firm today at (833) 406-0060 for a free consultation about your workers comp claim. Your health and financial security are our top priorities. Let our experienced team help lighten the burden during this difficult time.