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Ask Our Workers’ Comp Lawyers About Impairment Rating Exams
At Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C., we protect the workers’ compensation benefits of injured workers in southeastern Pennsylvania. With more than 70 years of combined experience handling this specialized area of the law in the local legal system, we have what it takes to fight to protect your workers’ compensation benefits.
Protecting your benefits means being familiar with the tools that insurance companies use to try to limit or reduce your benefits, including Impairment Rating Examinations and Independent Medical Examinations.
When Will An Exam Be Required?
There is no limit as to how long you can receive total disability workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. However, if you have been receiving total disability benefits for 104 weeks (two years), it is almost certain that some point your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider will ask you to attend an impairment rating evaluation (also known as an impairment rating exam or “IRE”) in an attempt to limit your wage loss benefits to 500 weeks.
Are Impairment Rating Exams (IREs) The Same As Independent Medical Exams (IMEs)?
One of the key differences between an IRE and an IME centers on who chooses the doctor. Independent medical exams are conducted by a doctor who your employer chooses. As you might expect, an IME tends to produce “medical” conclusions that favor employers and workers’ compensation insurance companies.
By contrast, impairment rating exams are conducted by a doctor chosen by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. After conducting a medical exam and reviewing your medical records, the IRE doctor will give you an impairment rating based on permanent impairment guidelines developed by the American Medical Association.
What Does The Rating Mean For My Benefits?
If this rating is below 35 percent for your whole body, your employer’s workers’ comp carrier may be able to change your disability status from “total” to “partial,” which would cap your benefits at 500 weeks. There are various ways that such a finding can be challenged, but getting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney involved early is critical to mounting a successful defense to a modification of your benefits.
Let Us Put Our Experience To Work For You
Offices in Pottstown, West Chester, Reading and Pennsburg, Pennsylvania
Insurance companies will always be represented by experienced workers’ compensation attorneys — you should be, too. To learn more about impairment rating exams, your rights as an injured worker or what our lawyers can do to protect your workers’ compensation benefits — call our offices directly or contact our lawyers online for a free consultation.
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