Question by an injured worker: Will accepting a permanent partial disability (PPD) award affect my job?
Answer: It shouldn't. Having permanent work restrictions may affect your job, but your accepting a PPD award shouldn't. Here's why.
PPD awards for injured workers with Nevada workers' compensation claims are based on a combination of three factors : the age of the injured worker, the wages the worker was earning at the time of his injury, and the percentage of impairment determined by a rating doctor.
The rating doctor must use a book published by the American Medical Association called The Guides to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Current Nevada law requires that rating doctors use the Fifth edition even though the AMA has published new editions. You may purchase the Guides and other books and newsletters about the Guides at www.amabookstore.com.
The Guides tell the rating doctor how to examine the injured worker, how to measure lost motion in joints, and how to calculate a percentage for anatomical, physical impairment. The factors used to calculate the percentage of whole body impairment are not related to what the injured worker does for a living. The plumber with partial amputation of his thumb will get the same percentage of impairment as the clerical assistant with a similar amputation. However, the amount of money offered for the PPD award also depend on the claimant's wage at the time of injury as well as the injured worker's age.
The word "impairment" often confuses people. Some employers do not understand at first that an injured worker can be entitled to a PPD award under the Guides even though they might also have a full duty work release from the treating doctor. Instead of the PPD report, the employer should rely on the treating physician's last progress report with the permanent work restrictions or the full duty work release.