There are many different steps in the process of obtaining workers' compensation benefits. If you do not have the guidance of an experienced attorney, you may not get all the benefits that you deserve. At Strong Law Offices, we will stand up for your rights and help you throughout every step of the way. AMA guidelines are not cited in the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. Arbitrators are required to consider these nationalized rating systems when evaluating a workers' claim for permanent partial disability.
We represent people throughout the entire Central Illinois area in workers' compensation claims, and only represent the injured worker. Strong Law Offices never advocates for the insurance company or employers. Our lawyers will provide the personalized attention that you are seeking and work with you at all times throughout the legal process.
Use of American Medical Association Impairment Ratings
In June 2011, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act was amended to state that courts may consider an impairment rating when determining a settlement in a workers' compensation claim. Use of this is considered controversial because an AMA impairment rating is much different than the definition of disability and work restrictions.
AMA guidelines are not favorable to injured workers' claim for disability awards or settlements. An injured worker needs a skilled lawyer in navigating this very difficult obstacle. This obstacle is a tool that insurance carriers can use to severely limit or diminish claims for permanent partial disability. In order to navigate around this obstacle, our office develops medical evidence from treating doctors and expert medical opinions to rebut and refute the limiting awards given by AMA ratings. It is important to have a firm that is knowledgeable of the other factors that the Arbitrator can consider to render a settlement or award to obtain the maximum allowable possible under the law.
Illinois AMA impairment ratings can also be deceiving because a rating may make an injured worker seem like he or she is not disabled, when in fact he or she is. For example, if a person can eat, walk and dress himself or herself, his or her impairment rating may be very small. However, the person may be disabled and unable to return to work. We have studied these ratings and are aware of their weaknesses. It is important to point out these weaknesses to the Commission when seeking to maximize your potential settlement or award.
Getting a Medical Opinion From Your Doctor
AMA Impairment Ratings are also cost prohibitive. For that reason, our law office will not advance money for AMA Impairment Rating reports under the Sixth Addition unless it is specifically agreed to in writing.
However, you can ask your treating physician to provide an AMA Impairment Rating if he or she is familiar and comfortable with the rating system. More importantly, as an alternative approach, you can ask your treating physician to author a report, within the contents of his or her treating records, that addresses the nature and extent of your injury.
You can ask you treating physician to document the following items in the treating records:
- Loss of range of motion
- Loss of strength
- Measure atrophy of tissue mass consistent with injury
- Other measurements establishing the nature and extent of impairment
- Employee's occupation
- Employee's age at the time of injury
- Medical issues, educational level or other demographic factors that may diminish earning capacity
- Permanent work restriction and the employer's willingness to accommodate
It is important to gather this type of medical documentation and options for your treating physician in order to enhance your ability to obtain a fair permanent partial disability settlement or other lifetime medical benefits from a workers' compensation arbitrator or the Workers' Compensation Commission.
Contact Our Illinois Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Insurance companies will try to give equal weight to the AMA rating or only present the AMA rating to the courts. The reality is that many other factors affect a settlement, and it takes a knowledgeable attorney to be able to navigate around the tactics that the insurance company will try to use. At Strong Law Offices, we have the proven track record and experience necessary to effectively represent your interests in your claim.
Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today. Contact us at 309-740-9092 or 866-606-7862. We have four convenient office locations in Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield and Decatur, Illinois. Evening, weekend and off-site appointments are available by request. We handle workers' compensation claims throughout the state of Illinois.
When You Have Been Injured, Get Strong — We Are on Your Side