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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 111605
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I'm nearing the end of a worker's comp case with my

Customer Question

Hi, I'm nearing the end of a worker's comp case with my employer. The physician put me on a permanent computer work restriction for which my employer has no positions. My "lawyer" says that even though I was placed on a work restriction, since the physician didn't assign an impairment percentage, a settlement will be pretty low.
I'm not impressed with my lawyer's level of expertise or availability so I wanted to double check here.
I'm trying to get a clear answer on how a case for the work injury itself might differ from the case for career hardship and the significant lose of income that results. Or maybe there isn't a case? Can employeers abuse worker's bodies until they can't go on anymore and then kick them out on the street once their bodies are broken?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
In order to make the case more valuable, you must have a permanent disability rating, your attorney is correct. Without a permanent disability rating the court cannot give a permanent disability award.
Your attorney sounds as though they are telling you correct about the permanent disability rating. You can go back to your doctor and get him to assign one if he will, but that is up to the doctor.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
how is it possible to have a permenant work restriction but not a permanent disability?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
In Toyota v. Williams, which was an Americans with Disabilities Act case, the Supreme court said that many millions of people have some impairment or disability, but Congress did not intend to cover all of them, they intended to cover only those employees who had a "permanent disability that impairs a major life function." So the same applies here, people can have permanent restrictions on a computer without having a permanent disability that impairs a major life function, and hence no permanent disability rating.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
being impaired from continuing in your career is doesn't count as an impairment of "major life function." In other words, earning a living is not considered a "major life function."
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I have not read your medical file so I do not know the extent of your disability, but typically not being able to use a computer is not a major life function. The doctor is the one who has to decide on your disability rating if they find you are permanently impaired.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
If I'm on a permanent work restriction (but without a qualifying permanent disability) and my employer can't accommodate that work restriction, and no settlement can reached, do I have a right to continued treatment? Can the employer's insurance company refuse continued treatment or medical leave and just drop me?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
As I explained above, many people have restrictions, even permanent restrictions, but that does not necessarily translate into a permanent disability. If you want to claim a permanent disability, then your doctor has to say you have reached maximum medical improvement and have a disability rating and what that disability rating was. You should be allowed to continue treatment and workers compensation has to pay for it for as long as your doctor says you have to continue treatment.

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