Workplace Injuries: What’s Your Next Move?
It’s no secret that truck driving is a highly dangerous profession. Injuries are often a result of everyday duties for thousands of truck drivers every year. It’s important to be aware of the options you have when it comes to your rights so you receive fair compensation and treatment for any injuries you may suffer while on the job.
In the event of an injury, it is especially important to figure out how much someone has been hurt. Are you unable to return to work because of your condition? Are you injured, but able to return to a lighter workload? This assessment is crucial when it comes to filing for workers’ compensation and other possible benefits. Unfortunately, this area is where many injured commercial truck drivers run into problems. As the person injured you may feel that you are unable to return to work, whereas your employer may claim you are fit to return and not qualify for any further benefits. This is where injury ratings come into play.
What Are Injury Ratings?
An injury rating is essentially an evaluation from a third party medical examiner in which they evaluate your injury and give it a percentage rating that deems how much you are able to receive in benefits from your prolonged injury. This evaluation isn’t done until the injured employee has reached their maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point in which further treatment will no longer improve your medical condition.
For example, if you have an injury to your knee and have received all medical treatment to improve your ailment, you will then be sent by your employer to have an injury rating. Then, say you receive an injury rating of 25% from the medical professional who conducts your exam, you would then qualify for a permanent disability payment of that rating in addition to your average weekly salary.
After you received your injury rating you may be questioning why you received the score that you did. There are many factors that go into the weight of your injury rating, and your score may vary for a number of different reasons including the type of injury you received or the medical professional conducting your examination. When your livelihood is at stake, knowing the variations between injury ratings could help you receive the best score.
How Do Injury Ratings Vary?
The biggest distinctions that vary between injury ratings is impairment. Impairment is a problem that affects the functioning of a part of the body and makes someone unable to use their body the same way they did before the accident or injury. These can be mental or physical impairments and fall under the distinctions of permanent or temporary impairments.
If your trucking injury is deemed as a permanent impairment, you are able to pursue longer and larger benefits because your injury was diagnosed as a lifelong impairment that you will face for the rest of your life. On the other hand, temporary impairments may improve over time with proper care and may not have the same impact, which would qualify you for less benefits.
On top of the types of impairment, Injury ratings also have different scales based on the type of injury you sustain. You wouldn’t judge an eye injury as critically as you might a spinal cord injury, but both may still have severe impacts on a trucker’s life. It is important that these injuries be examined fairly based on their own scales so that everyone may receive a fair compensation.
Eye Injury Ratings
The average workers’ compensation settlement amount for eye injuries resulting in vision loss can be substantial, but there are several factors that can determine the settlement you receive. One of the biggest factors that goes into determining your settlement is the rating is the loss of vision determined by measuring the deviation from standard vision field, visual acuity, and ocular motility; this is all determined using the Snellen’s Chart.
The Snellen Chart measures visual impairment, and if you have ever had an eye exam before, you’ve likely been tested with this method; it is the chart of letters that progressively gets smaller your optometrist has you read off. This scale allows them to determine how much your vision has been affected post injury in comparison with your pre-injury or pretreatment vision.
Back Injury Ratings
Like eye injuries, there are several factors that go into determining the settlement you receive for a back injury, specifically the area of the injury in which you are seeking compensation for. For spinal injuries, doctors determine your rating based on three scales that focus on different areas of the spine:
- Lumbar Spine Table: covers lower back related injuries
- Thoracic Spine Table: covers middle to upper back related injuries
- Cervical Spine Table: covers your neck
Each of these tables are then broken down into five categories numbered one through five in which the higher the number category, the higher the permanent disability rating.
How Injury Ratings Can Make or Break Your Compensation
As simple as it may seem, truck driver injury ratings are often the cause of internal conflict and office disputes. As we touched on earlier, you may find yourself in a dispute with your employer over whether or not you are able to fully return to your job in the same capacity as before you were injured. Injury ratings are meant to settle this dispute, but more often than not, truckers face the issue of not receiving a fair injury rating for their injuries.
Most employers get to choose the medical facility in which injury ratings are performed, so they can often send you to the company doctor which will give you a rating which is almost always too low. The trucking company and its doctor have every incentive to try to minimize the extent of your injury to limit the payout you are owed. This is a very common occurrence that many truckers face.
Have You Received an Unfair Injury Rating?
We can help. We have been representing injured truckers for nearly 50 years. We have a team of doctors and other healthcare professionals who will examine you and give you a fair injury rating. We will fight for your rights and make sure the workers’ compensation insurance adjusters treat you fairly.
If we represent you, we will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation available for your injuries, and we will not receive a fee until you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 855-4-HURT-TRUCKER (855-448-7887) or email us at [email protected] for more information on how we can help you pursue a fair injury rating so that you receive the compensation you deserve.