I’ve just built another new workers’ compensation calculator. Actually, it is a look up tool that will help workers’ compensation professionals file documents with EAMS.1

While I think the recent Verify!® social security number validator may be more intriguing for defense attorneys and claims examiners, I think this new EAMS tool will probably be more useful to Applicant attorneys.

So, here’s the deal: I want to build the absolute most comprehensive suite of calculators and tools for workers’ compensation professionals. 1 I also want your help to making them better.

Is it possible to get an Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impairment above 100%?

I believe it mightbe theoretically possible to achieve an adjusted whole person impairment above 100% using the Ogilvie DFEC formula. I could easily include a small variation on the calculation that would prevent it from exceeding 100, but I have not done so because I wanted to replicate the the formulas set forth in Ogilvie as exactly as possible.

Why can’t I use post-injury earnings of $0.00? What if they have no earnings at all?

That’s an extremely valid point. If you try to use a post-injury earnings of “zero”, it will cause division by “zero” which is not a mathematically legal operation. Try post-injury earnings of $1.00 or $0.01. Doing so will give you an answer VERY close to what you need. 3

The WCAB en banc in Ogilvie rounds to three decimal places at one step and to four decimal places at a second step. The only way we know what they actually did is by extrapolating from the examples in the decision – they never actually state “round to four significant digits here, round to three significant digits there.” I have rounded exactly as they did in their examples.

At the end of the day, there are two ways to perform the Ogilvie DFEC calculation: the exact way the WCAB did it (sometimes four, sometimes three decimal places) and the way they probably intended to do it (four decimal places until the end). I made the judgment call to use the formula as they performed it, warts and all.

Why did I choose to round as the WCAB did? I think it is more defensible to calculate exactly as the Board did, rather than as I think the Board should have calculated.

How do you put the Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impairment into the rating calculator?

At this point, you can’t use a different FEC Rank or an Ogilvie DFEC adjustment factor in the 2005 PDRS rating calculator on this site. In order to accomodate this, I would need to either rewrite the entire calculator or write a new calculator. One other possibility is that I could modify the Ogilvie DFEC calculation to provide one extra line of information – where it “runs the FEC numbers backwards.”

Let’s take this example: Suppose the body part FEC rank is 1 and whole person impairment is 10. The normal FEC adjusted whole person impairment would be 11. Let’s suppose after applying the Ogilvie DFEC formula it turns out you should have an FEC rank of 8 instead. This would give you an Ogilvie DFEC adjusted whole person impariment of 14%. I could write a modification of the current Ogilvie DFEC calculator to put 14% into the FEC Rank chart and look up what whole person impairment you would need with an FEC rank of 1 to arrive at 14%. Would you find this a helpful interim fix? Please let me know by sending me an e-mail.

Jay, why in the world did the Ogilvie DFEC calculator reference “standard disability”? Shouldn’t it say “whole person impairment”?

You’re totally correct. I’ve fixed this. Mea culpa.

Here’s my request for your help. In order to make an Ogilvie calculation valid, you need to put in valid post-injury earnings of similarly situated employees. The WCAB in Ogilvie suggests several possible sources:4

What do you use for post-injury earnings of similarly situated employees? If I had a better idea where people were looking it is possible that I might be able to automate the inclusion of this informaiton as well. Please drop me a line and let me know. If there is a general consensus, I’ll look into the possiblity of having this informaiton automatically imported from an external website.

Why? Some people have wacky hobbies. Maybe you build hockey arenas out of toothpicks. I build workers’ compensation calculators and give them away for free. If it will put you at ease, I hope to make money from advertising in the future. [↩]

I know it has a less than friendly error message about this. I’ll see what I can do about fixing that. [↩]

I’ve copied the links directly from Ray Frost‘s Ogilvie spreadsheet/calculator. Ray has been kind enough to allow me the use of his extensive work restrictions lists. So, thanks Ray! [↩]

I have no intention of manufacturing FEC Ranks 9 through 20 for the following reasons:

Maintaining Standards. The entire point of a rating schedule is to allow a standardized method for calculating disability and expressing those disability calculations. If I invented my own FEC Rank system beyond the scheduled 1-8 Ranks, I would essentially be creating my own rating calculation system. I’ve gone to considerable lengths to ensure that the rating strings produced by these permanent disability calculators are as standardized, recognizeable, and universal as possible.

FEC Ranks are Irrelevant. The FEC Rank system is a simplified method of applying DFEC adjustment factors. When you use the FEC Rank of a particular body part to adjust the standard using the charts on pages 2-6 and 2-7 of the 2005 PDRS (permanent disability rating schedule), what you’re really doing is essentially multiplying your standard disability against the FEC adjustment factor associated with the particular FEC Rank for the body part in question. An FEC Rank is only useful for telling you the appropriate FEC adjustment factor to apply to the standard disability. Thus, FEC Ranks are irrelevant and FEC adjustment factors are all important.

Arbitrary FEC Ranks. FEC Rank 1 has an FEC adjustment factor of “1.100”. However, using the OgilvieDFEC rebuttal formula, it is possible to end up with very low FEC adjustment factors. In extreme circumstances it would be possible to have a negative FEC adjustment factor. The only way to resolve this would be to have several possible negative FEC Ranks. Besides being somewhat silly, worrying about additional FEC Ranks2 misses the point. If you’re using the OgilvieDFEC rebuttal formula properly, the result will be a new FEC adjustment factor. If you already have the FEC adjustment factor, you have no need for the FEC Rank!

When I had discussed the impact of Ogilvie earlier, I had pointed out that in some cases the resulting formula will dictate that you use a different FEC Rank than the one indicated by the affected body part. In other cases you will need to use an entirely new FEC adjustment factor. In order to keep the 2005 disability calculator current I will eventually have to create a way for the user to override a body part’s standard FEC Rank and specify a new FEC Rank or their own FEC adjustment factor.

I’m not in any particular rush to develop this feature since Ogilvie seems to require three years of post-injury earnings. I doubt we’re going to see litigation begin in earnest over Ogilvie issues for another 18 to 24 months.

Unfortunately, not one of them was able to actually use the thing. Last night my wife suggests the problem might be, “maybe they are using a different version or its not refreshed or something”?

And you know what? She was right. My wife, the hacker.2

I’ve written several protections into these calculators to insulate my users from having to deal with problems or bugs from newly installed code. I would much rather a user sees nothing than get a wrong answer. And nothing is exactly what my users saw. I had remembered to allow my beta testers to see the Ogilvie DFEC Rebuttal Calculator – but forgot to give them access to calculator.

So, the beta-test period will continue for another day or two while I await feedback from my users.