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What is scheduled and non-scheduled impairment in workers’ comp?

When a Colorado worker is injured on the job, workers’ compensation benefits are an important part of making ends meet and getting medical care while they try to recover. For some workers, the injury is not severe enough that they will never be able to work again or do not need to have a job that is specifically tailored to their post-injury abilities. Some workers though, will have permanent disability, but it will not be total disability. This is known as permanent partial disability (PPD).

There are two levels of PPD. They are scheduled impairment and non-scheduled impairment. Understanding the difference is imperative when seeking and receiving workers’ comp. With scheduled impairment, the person will suffer from a loss of function in a certain area of the body or senses. It can be a loss of hearing or sight, losing use of the eyes, arms, fingers, legs, hands, toes or feet. When a person has a scheduled impairment, the worker will receive compensation that is linked to the value of the specific body part that is damaged.

With non-scheduled impairment, it is also known as “whole person” impairment. The worker will have suffered an injury that affects a body part that is not listed under scheduled impairment. That can include mental functioning, the lungs and the spine. With non-scheduled impairment, there are various factors that will go into the impairment rating. That includes what a doctor says, the person’s age, a 400 week “fixed factor” and the rate for temporary total disability.

For workers who have suffered a workplace injury or have a condition or illness from the work they do, workers’ comp can be a lifesaver. However, many people fail to get benefits because they make mistakes when they are applying or do not take the steps in the necessary time frame. Other problems that can arise is if there is a disagreement as to how severe the injury is or the insurer disputes the claim entirely. Having legal assistance is critical for any workers’ comp case. Contacting a law firm that specializes in helping workers get their workers’ compensation is the first step toward getting the maximum benefits.