Calculator Issues

Calculator Performance Issue: It has come to my attention that some users are having problems with the “Body Part” code finder.  This problem apparently occurs when you click on the “Body Part” button and just see a spinning blue “waiting” disc instead of a list of body parts.

Temporary Fix: Even though the Body Part code search function does not work for some users, the rating functions still appears to work just fine.  If you know the Body Part code, you should be able to enter it manually in the box provided.  If you are performing a 2005 schedule rating, please use the full 8 digit body part code.

Permanent Solution: I am working on a fix for this problem and will update this website as soon as I am able.  I cannot be sure, but I suspect that the problem is being caused, in part, by the recent increase in the popularity of this website.1

To all paid-subscription users:

I value your business and appreciate your patience.  If this problem persists, I will create a second website exclusively for your use.

In the meantime, if you’re having problems with the calculators, however small, please e-mail through the Contact Us link at the top.  The more information I have about the problem, the better able I will be to diagnose and fix it.

Thank you again for your patience.


Jay Shergill

  1. Yay, popularity!  Boo, problems! []

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 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 []

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 subscriber1 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. []

Inside the Calculators – Part IV – MySQL

I recently gave a brief overview of my permanent disability and workers’ compensation benefit calculators. In that post I wrote a little bit about how my online benefits calculators work. Since then I’ve posted about my use of javascript, PHP, and AJAX in creating these permanent disability and permanent impairment calculators.

As I mentioned in the prior post in this series, my first few versions of this website and its workers’ compensation calculators did not use MySQL.  The initial versions of this site only saved information – which meant I only had to use PHP to open a file on the server, add an extra line of information, and then close the file.  This had several problems:

  1. Once my website became more popular, it was not uncommon to have more than one user online.  That meant the server tried to open the file – but couldn’t since it was already open.  This caused the program to freak out.
  2. In order to view just a little bit of information, I had to download the entire file.  This got crazy pretty quickly.
  3. Each time the file got larger, it would take slightly longer to open, append with more information, and close.

MySQL is an incredible tool for storing, organizing, and retrieving a large amount of data.   Like PHP, it is also open-source.  This means it is:

  • Well supported.  There are lots of online resources and books to help you learn.
  • Secure.  Lots of people spend a lot of time thinking of ways to prevent security vulnerabilities.
  • Customizable.  You can configure or even rewrite it, if you wish.
  • Interoperability.  You can save it to just about any format – including MS Excel spreadsheets.
  • Free.  Unlike Oracle or any of the MS alternatives, it is totally free.

So, why did I avoid MySQL?  I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new programming language.  I had to learn how to set up a database, tables within the database, how to search for information in a table, how to put information into a table, and how to change information which was already in a table.  There was a lot of trial and error.  I ended up doing some pretty cool things in the process of learning this language.  Some examples:

  • Teaching others some of the basics of MySQL
  • Writing a program for cataloging books
  • Writing several programs which performed various calculations to track invoices, billings, etc
  • Setting up several blogs/websites

The end result of learning this language is a more interactive website.  One of the last incarnations of this site was a version that would show different color schemes, advertisers, and messages depending upon the user.  All of this was made possible by large amounts of data stored in MySQL.

Thus ends my technical overview of my workers’ compensation permanent disability calculators!  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below!


Free as in FREE?

Hands down, the most common question I get is some variation of “free as in FREE?” I was going to add this question to the “frequently asked questions” page, but it’s asked SO often I’ve got to post it here.

Q: Free as in FREE? WHY are these calculators free? Why would you do that?

A: I’ve got a lot of reasons for making these calculators free.

First, I made the decision to not charge for calculations. While this might change in the future, I don’t think it will. The pay-only features don’t give you more calculators or more reliable calculations. Instead, you get a lot of ways to make your calculations even quicker, easier, and convenient by improving the search functions and creating reports.

Second, there are other websites and programs that offer some of the same calculators I do. Some of those are free. No one would use this site unless it offered the same or better service at the same or better price (free).

Third, while you don’t have to pay me anything, I think the pay-only features are useful enough that people will want them. The pay-only features1 are all designed to save you a lot of time and frustration. Most California workers’ compensation professionals have extremely high case loads. Shaving a few minutes off every case would save considerably more time and money than this website’s paltry monthly subscription.

Fourth, as the saying goes, “do what you love and the money will follow.” Heaven help me, I really enjoy working on this site. Over the last year I’ve invested a lot of time in this project. 2  Some people collect stamps, some people build things out of toothpicks. I design and program web based calculators for workers’ compensation professionals.

  1. Better searching for body part codes, occupational codes, work restrictions, and e-mails with multiple side-by-side ratings, and more. []
  2. Please please don’t ask me how much. []

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