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What is permanent impairment?

Permanent Impairment is used in personal injury claims to describe the permanent impact an injury has on a person's functioning.

When a person suffers injury in a road, car or traffic accident, work incident or from an injury sustained through the fault of another, how the Courts and insurers assess the compensation the injured person should receive for their injuries is often based on the assessments of permanent impairment of medical specialists. 

When a person suffers injury, the injury can result in long term problems. This is termed "permanent impairment". Taking a person's body as being 100% functioning, a medical, specialist appropriate to the area of injury (eg. Orthopaedic surgeon assesses muscular and bone injuries), will assess what loss of function to the person's body as a whole has been sustained as a result of the injury.

Permanent impairment obviously increases the more serious the injury and the more the injury impacts on a person's capacity to undertake their activities of daily living. In fact, in most injury cases, assessment of impairment will include an impairment rating for the actual injury, plus a possible uplift for interference with activities of daily living of up to 3%. Pain is also an uplifting factor when impairment is being assessed. An assessor can also uplift the impairment assessment for the injury because of chronic pain and its interference with functioning.

Assessments for permanent impairment of an injury are usually undertaken pursuant to the American Medical Assessment Guides 5th Edition (AMA Guides), although in work injury cases, the Guide to Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (GEPI) is used. The GEPI is actually based on the AMA Guides, with some minor deviations. To learn more about assessment of degree of permanent impairment under GEPI, go to the following article at link: Degree of Permanent Impairment Assessment under GEPI 

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