When a claim is closed, even if you’re able to go back to work, or particularly if you’re able to go back to work, but have some limitation, there are benefits called permanent partial disability benefits that are available. If the injury is to your neck, your back, to your lungs, some other conditions, there’s a rating system that are – it’s called a category system of impairment. For the low back, there are eight categories. For the neck, there are six. Each category has specific designated findings associated with it.
If your doctor, or one of the department’s doctors looks at – does an examination, they will then look at these categories and compare your findings with the categories and try to estimate what category you fit into.
When it comes to parts of the body, such as arms, shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, then the Department of Labor and Industries uses the American Medical Association’s guide for evaluating permanent disability, and will rate according to the criteria in the guide, typically as a percentage of the loss of use of that extremity. So, for instance, if you had a knee surgery, you might be entitled to 20% or 30% permanent partial disability, or the leg, and they would then pay you 20% to 30% of the value assigned for an entire leg. These values are scheduled upwards by statute and by administrative code to establish a value that changes every year, that increases depending on how recent your injury has been.