You are entitled to a Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) rating when your injury has become "medically stable". "Medical stability means the date after which further objectively measurable improvement...is not reasonably expected to result from additional medical care..." As 23.30.095(27).
In other words, if your injury isn't expected to improve, then you are medically stable. If you are receiving Temporary Total Disability (TTD), those checks stop when you are medically stable. You are paid PPI and that is the end of the checks you receive unless you are in the reemployment process, or unless something else happens on account of which you cannot work such as you need a second surgery.
Who determines when you are medically stable and what your PPI rating is?
Your doctor may determine that you are medically stable. He may send you to another clinic to perform the PPI rating or if there is someone in his clinic that does them, they will perform the rating there.
Sometimes the insurance company will send you to their doctor (Employer Independent Medical Evaluation) and that doctor will opine whether you are medically stable and what your PPI rating is.
When you are referred for a PPI rating, the doctor will review your medical records, perhaps examine you, perhaps review a Physical Capacity Evaluation, and then refer to the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (6th edition) which lists nearly every kind of injury that can occur to a person and instructs the doctor how to evaluate the injury. The Alaska Workers Compensation Board mandates the use of the AMA Guidelines, there is no getting around it. However the doctor does have some discretion in classifying your injury based upon many factors, one of which is the amount of pain created by the injury. Therefor it is important for the doctor to have all of your medical records, including your MRIs and x-rays, as well as a full knowledge of how the injury has impacted your life.
If you disagree with the insurance doctor's PPI rating, you can ask your own physician to review it and to refer you to someone who will do a PPI rating on your behalf.
If it has been some time since your injury and you are no longer being treated, or your treatment is only for pain and isn't going to improve your underlying condition, and you haven't been referred for a PPI rating yet, ask your doctor to do so.
The Law Office of Keenan Powell provides FREE CONSULTATIONS regardless of whether or not you have been controverted. To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on this page or call 258-7663.
For more information about Workers Compensation, see: http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq‑wc.html.