Mar
23
2009
0

How has Almaraz/Guzman changed workers’ compensation?

AMA Guides 5th Ed.

AMA Guides 5th Ed.

Clearly, Almaraz/Guzman has been a boon to the U.S. Postal Service.  I’ve been receiving Almaraz/Guzman letters from Applicant attorneys on my files ever since the en banc decision came out.  These letters typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Increased demands for settlement
  2. Demands for additional discovery per Almaraz/Guzman
  3. Letters to the PQME/AME requesting their opinions on impairment outside the AMA Guidelines to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fifth Edition

I’ve also heard of some doctors completely abandoning the AMA Guidelines to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Fifth Edition, in favor of just analogizing impairment.  This is not what was intended by the en banc panel in WCAB in Almaraz/Guzman.

Here’s what Almaraz/Guzman means for workers’ compensation practitioners:

So, remember:

  1. Whether you agree with the AMA Guides or the 2005 PDRS they’re still the law of the land and must be addressed.
  2. Whether you agree with Almaraz/Guzman, it’s still good law and must be addressed.
  3. Almaraz/Guzman does not absolve a doctor from the responsibility to generate a medical report which addresses the AMA Guides and constitutes substantial medical evidence.
Jan
14
2009
1

Multiple Disabilities Table Calculator

Multiple Disabilities Table

Multiple Disabilities Table, easy, no?

Right after “workers’ compensation calculator” and “permanent disability calculator,” the top search term for people coming to this website is “multiple disabilities table.”

If you want to combine multiple disabilities for injuries before 2005,[1] you can:

  1. After 2005, you may need to use the Combined Values Chart from the 2005 PDRS. []
  2. FYI: The multiple disabilities chart in the rating schedules gives you disability increments of 5% points. []
  3. The chart on the right is from the 1988 PDRS []
Oct
27
2008
0

Two More Calculator Features!

Not a new calculator

Not a new calculator

Last week, at the request of a paid subscriber, I added a new permanent disability rating calculator feature.[1] [2] Prior users had asked about incorporating an automatic dollar value of permanent disability or “money chart”  For the reasons I described in that prior post, I just couldn’t think of a good way to incorporate an automatic calculation of the monetary value of permenant disability.

New Paid Subscriber Feature

New Calculator

New Calculator

Once I added this feature, I realized there were at least two more instances when an automatic calculation of dollar value of permanent disability might come in very handy: when calculating the Multiple Disabilities Table[3] or Combined Value Chart[4] values from combining one or more permanent disability ratings.

Now, when a paid subscriber calculates the CVC or MDT of multiple ratings, the calculated combined rating is fed to the dollar value of permanent disability calculator and the dollar value calculated.

  1. Old calculator photo courtesy of ansik. []
  2. New calculator photo courtesy of dan taylor. []
  3. 1997 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule []
  4. 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule []
Oct
23
2008
0

New Calculator Features!

Running Puppy

This puppy has nothing to do with this post whatsoever.

Last Friday I announced some “website tweaks.”  Since then a paid subscriber[1] reiterated a feature request.[2] As a paid subscriber, he is able to calculate an unlimited number of ratings so that they all show up on a single page.  Basically, he wanted to be able to see the dollar value for a particular permanent partial disability percentage at the same time as a rating.

This isn’t the first time I’ve wrestled with the problems in creating such a feature.  There are several problems with incorporating this feature into the calculator’s page.

  1. The rating calculator and the dollar value of permanent disability calculators cannot be open at the same time.
  2. The rating calculator does not require the date of injury, just the age of the injured worker.  Without the date of injury, the website cannot properly display the dollar value of a permanent partial disability percentage.
  3. When a paid subscriber has performed more than one rating calculation on a page, the website cannot decide which rating string to convert into the equivalent number of dollars.

This exact feature had been suggested by other users in the past.[3]  My original thinking was that trying to accommodate this feature request would involve too many unknown variables.  After giving the matter some more thought, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Paid subscribers benefit from improved print formatting. Basically, I’ve created a special file that changes the way the calculator page looks when a paid subscriber is printing. [4]  Paid subscribers benefit from having the calculator page streamlined specifically for printing.
  • Paid subscribers can have more than one calculator open at a time. This one feature probably addresses 90% of this user’s concerns.  If you’re able to keep both calculators open at the same time, it should be easy to perform a rating and then turn the percentage into a dollar value.
  • Paid subscribers receive automatic calculations of dollar value of ratings. When a paid subscriber performs a rating calculation, the “Dollar Value of Permanent Disability” calculator automatically opens and the dollar value of the rating is automatically calculated.  The user will still have to adjust calculation to account for the year of the injury.  However, this is probably the most elegant solution to this issue.
  1. As opposed to a free subscriber []
  2. Thanks Marc! []
  3. And even some competitors!!! []
  4. The special file is actually just some CSS to optimize page for printing. []
Oct
22
2008
0

Road Warrior Checklist – Appearances

Mr. Road Warrior, Esq.

Road Warrior, Esq.

Appearances, whether for a hearing or deposition, require additional equipment, preparation, and forethought.  Here’s what I carry with me when I’m scheduled to appear.

  • Cell phone
    • Phone numbers for the office, destination, and client programmed in the day before.
    • Photocopier code programmed into the phone.
    • Includes calculator.[1]
    • Alarm.  When parking at a meter, set the phone’s alarm for 5 minutes before time expires.
  • GPS
    • Address and phone number of destination programmed in the day before.
  • Money
    • $5 is the bare minimum, in case I need to be across a bridge on short notice.
    • Quarters for parking.
    • Bills for photocopies.
    • Copy cards.
      • Every time I use a copy card, I write the date and amount remaining on it in permanent ink.
  • BART tickets
    • I consider $5 a minimum, in case I need to be in S.F. on short notice.
  • Dictaphone
    • Extra batteries.
  • Leather bound folder
    • Legal pad
    • PD chart
    • Mini-rating manual for 1997 and 2005[2]
  • Settlement documents.
    • You never know when a case might unexpectedly settle.
  • Record release forms.
    • You never know when a settlement might fall through.
  • Backpack

Previous “Road Warrior Checklists”:

  1. Since workers’ compensation is really just math. []
  2. I’ve created my own “mini-rating” manual.  Its basically comprised of excerpts from the 1997 and 2005 manuals.  Carrying this obviates the need for the 100+ page manuals. []

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