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Don’t Accept an AMA Impairment Rated Settlement

Russ Haugen

We get several calls a week by injured workers who have received a settlement offer directly from an insurance company. They have been told that they must accept the settlement offer since it has been based upon an AMA impairment rating. The injured worker is confused because the offer is less than half the amount their coworker received for a settlement with the same injury a few years ago.

Since 2011, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act has allowed employers and their workers’ compensation insurance carriers to obtain American Medical Association’s (AMA) impairment ratings. Once an injured worker has been released by their doctor, the insurance company will send him or her to another doctor for an AMA impairment rating. At times, the insurance company will even request an impairment rating from the injured worker’s doctor. Once the insurance company obtains this AMA rating, it will often make a settlement offer to the injured worker solely based upon the AMA rating.

INJURED WORKERS SHOULD NOT ACCEPT A SETTLEMENT OFFER BASED UPON AN AMA RATING UNTIL THEY HAVE CONSULTED WITH AN ATTORNEY!!!

Pursuant to Section 8 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, for work injuries that occur on or after September 1, 2011, a permanent partial disability level is based upon a number of factors:

  1. The reported level of impairment (AMA rating);
  2. The occupation of the injured employee;
  3. The age of the employee at the time of the injury;
  4. The employee’s future earning capacity; &
  5. Evidence of disability corroborated by the treating medical records

As you can see, the AMA rating is only one factor that should be used in determining an injured worker’s permanent partial disability (PPD) level. However, unscrupulous insurance companies attempt to manipulate injured workers into thinking that it should be the only factor to be considered when making a settlement offer. This results in offers that are only a fraction of the amount an injured worker would get at the time of trial.

Don’t let the insurance company trick you into thinking that you must accept a settlement offer based upon the AMA impairment rating. You and your fellow coworkers could be losing out on thousands of dollars. If you have received an offer from an insurance company, contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans to make sure that you are getting a fair settlement.

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