What Qualifies as a Permanent Injury? — Principal and Managing Attorney, Clair Campbell, explains what qualifies as a permanent injury and how they are determined in a personal injury case. If you are the victim of an accident or injury, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at 704-333-0885 or schedule a free consultation today.
What Does Not Qualify as a Permanent Injury?
We’re going to talk a little bit about permanent injury as it applies to recovery in a personal injury case. Often, you are in a fender bender. You have some soft tissue injuries, and you get treated by, maybe, the emergency room first, your primary care physician, a chiropractor, a physical therapist, orthopedist, neurologist.
And six months go by. You’re feeling great. You’re back to work. You’re doing everything you want to do.
No permanent injury.
Same scenario: You may have some lingering residuals—aches and pains with all of that that’s been treated. But you’re 1 on a 10 scale and still have days when there is something that crops up. That, in the scheme of things, is not considered a permanent injury.
It may be something that you deal with lifelong, but it doesn’t prevent you from doing things, and it doesn’t restrict you in any way or change your lifestyle other than that residual pain.
How Are Permanent Injuries Determined?
For us to be able to make a recovery under the Permanency Guidelines, an impairment rating is required by your doctor of the particular body part that is damaged. And that permanency impairment rating is a percentage of what you’ve lost.
And assuming we all have 100 percent to begin with, if you get a 10 percent disability rating on your arm, or your back or your leg, then that 10 percent is worth money to you in a personal injury action because that is 10 percent that’s gone forever.
That doesn’t come back with time. That doesn’t have any medical way to heal itself.
Most doctors will tell you after a year, the body is going to do everything it can to repair itself with help on your own: exercises, holistically, etc. But after that year, if things are still hanging around, the likelihood of any great improvement is slim to none, absent surgery or some other invasive means of correction.
Even then, most surgeons will give some disability rating to the surgical site just because of the way the American Medical Guidelines are written.
If you do have an injury and you’re assigned a permanent disability rating, that’s something that you need to remember to bring up at settlement time. And it’s something that will ultimately put some money in your pocket sadly, obviously, because you’d rather have the use of that limb or back or neck back.
But the legislators recognize, definitely, that that is a loss that you’re entitled to damages for.
Is There a Difference Between Permanent Injury Benefits and SSD Benefits?
Ultimately, if you suffer and have been out of work for a year or expected to be out of work for a year, Social Security Disability benefits may also be available to you.
There’s a difference between Social Security benefits from a disabled statute perspective and injury benefits from a disability rating under the personal injury system.
This is important: Restrictions that the doctor gives you, that goes along with that permanency.
We look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions. Be safe out there. Take care.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have suffered an injury that has left you permanently disabled, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Campbell & Associates are here to help. We are dedicated to protecting your right to full and fair compensation. Call 704-333-0885 or schedule a free consultation today.