The Difference Between An Impairment And Disability With Workers’ Compensation Claims

When you are defending your workers' compensation case, it's important to understand the difference between disability and impairment. If you are having a difficult time understanding this distinction and how it can impact your case, a work injury attorney may be able to help.

Impairment Vs. Disability

Impairment refers to when a body part has a problem that leads to it no longer functioning properly. For example, if you are unable to grasp objects with your hand, the hand could be considered to have an impairment. A disability, on the other hand, is the functional limitation that results from the impairment. When you have a disability, this may affect your ability to work and this is the basis for why you may be entitled to further workers' compensation benefits.

The distinction is important because two individuals with the same impairment might end up with a different level of disability. For example, two employees who suffered the exact same leg injury and have the same impairment might undergo surgery. The second employee's injury might be a success while the first employee may react poorly to the surgery and end up unable to walk. The first employee would be entitled to a different level of compensation than the second.

The Importance of Being Disabled

To be able to receive compensation for your injuries, you will either need to have a material reduction in your ability to work or you will need to have a disability that prevents you from participating in non-work related activities.

In some cases, you might have multiple impairments, and the extent to where you are considered impaired might be greater than 100%. However, you may also return to work and continue to earn the income that you earned before you were injured. You also may not face a reduction in any non-work activities.

Compensation for Your Injuries

If you are concerned about the extent to where you will be compensated for your injuries, it's important to speak with a workers' compensation injury lawyer who is experienced with your type of injuries. You will need to demonstrate that you are disabled with the help of your doctor and an experienced work injury attorney. The insurance provider may request that you submit medical records to show that you are actually injured. Your attorney will help you understand what you need to get approved and how to deal with bad faith adjuster tactics.

If you have more questions, reach out to a local workers' compensation lawyer.