If you are suffering permanent effects of the injury that are less than total at the end of the healing period, the employee may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits.
There are two kinds of permanent partial disability: schedule and nonscheduled. A schedule injury refers to an injury to a limb, e.g. arm, leg or any part of a limb. A nonscheduled injury refers to an injury to the head, neck or torso. Psychological injuries are nonscheduled injuries, even if an underlying physical injury is scheduled. Permanent hearing loss or loss of sight is also compensable pursuant to Wisconsin statutes and the Administrative Code.
The Department of Workforce Development has rules to help doctors determine the extent of someone's permanent partial disability. Payment of benefits is based on the percentage of disability assigned by the doctor, the administrative codes and the permanent partial disability rate at the time of your injury.
In some cases, the worker's compensation insurance company may send the injured worker to its own doctor for an evaluation, referred to as an "independent medical evaluation or IME" to determine permanent partial disability. These evaluations are often unfavorable to you and benefits could be terminated prematurely. The majority of worker's compensation hearings involve a medical dispute between treating physicians and the insurance doctors, i.e. IME's.
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