Workers Compensation Calculator
Workers' Compensation Calculator

I had an interesting e-mail exchange with a friend (and fellow workers’ compensation professional) the other day.1

We were discussing the impacts of Ogilvie on 2005 schedule ratings.  He had asked me whether I intended to update the 2005 permanent disability rating calculator to include FEC Ranks after the scheduled 8.  I believe he had suggested FEC Ranks 9 through 20.

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 Ogilvie DFEC 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 Ogilvie DFEC 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.

  1. Photo courtesy of Street Fly JZ []
  2. Both higher and lower than the normal 8 []

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 []

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 Table3 or Combined Value Chart4 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 []

A blogger I respect very much, Roger Dooley, recently posted about “The Power of FREE.” His Neuromarketing blog is mostly about the interplay between marketing and psychology. You should read the article for yourself, but the bottom line is that offering something for free is an incredible incentive – even where someone might get just as as good a deal for “almost free.”

Many people measure their success by their search engine ranking for their “target keywords.” I would wager that most people care about their Google ranking over other search engines. Most search engines alter the search results by placing paid advertisers at the top. Google does not sell search engine rankings. I would say this is one of the biggest reasons it’s considered the gold standard of search engines.

My own target keywords are “permanent disability calculator free.” I discovered a few days ago that this website is the top ranked Google result for these keywords!

Today is one year old! You can click on the images below to see what this site used to look like. circa July 23, 2007
Circa July 23, 2007

The very first version of this website was launched on July 23, 2007.

On a whim I looked up what else has happened on July 23. Birthdays: Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, Raymond Chandler mystery writer, Woody Harrelson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Slash of Guns N’ Roses.

Thank you wikipedia!

This first version of only calculated old and new schedule ratings and generated reports. Pretty ugly, I know. At this point I was just trying to put together something that would work. circa September 17, 2007
Circa September 17, 2007

I updated the entire website on September 17, 2007. I’m sure other important things happened on this date too.

This version of the website offered MDT (multiple disabilities table) calculators, CVC (combined value chart) calculators, lists of work restrictions, and a life expectancy calculator.

This was the first time that I offered a subscription version with additional features.

This is also the first version that had any kind of advertising. I started off with the ubiquitious Google Adsense you see everywhere. Then I put up ads from an independent certified impairment rating specialist and a court reporter Janet Lombardi & Associates. circa January 1, 2008 circa January 1, 2008

I spent WAY too much time developing the version of this site launched on January 1, 2008.

This version included a date calculator, temporary disability rate calculator, wage loss / total partial disability calculator, life expectancy calculator, life pension calculator, average weekly wage calculator, simple interest calculator, and permanent total disability calculator.

My goal was to offer more California workers’ compensation calculators than anyone else anywhere on the internet – and do it for free. I’m fairly certain that there is no other single source that has more calculators than you’ll find here. circa July 6, 2008 circa July 6, 2008

The version of the website you’re now viewing was launched on July 6, 2008. I had been fiddling with WordPress as a website/blog platform for several months before this but didn’t switch over the main site until July 6.

Using WordPress as a website platform for these calculators has allowed me to focus on providing better content (links, downloads, self-indulgent blog posts) and on the calculators themselves.

When I launched this latest version, I took out all of the advertising so that I could focus on making the website look better.

That said, July 23, 2008 was a totally unrealistic and overly optimistic target date for totally revamped calculators. I really don’t know what I was thinking.