Disputing Impairment Ratings

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Traditionally, a claimant could dispute their impairment rating by completing a DWC-32 form requesting a designated doctor for maximum medical improvement (MMI) and/or impairment rating (IR). If the rating came from a designated doctor, the claimant had ninety (90) days (from the date of receipt) to fill out a DWC-45, stating that they wished to dispute the MMI and IR. No evidence or even a hearing was required to stop the ninety (90) day window from expiring. With the changes in Rule §141, disputing impairment ratings have become more complicated. Claimant’s can still dispute rating by filling out a request for a designated doctor. However, if the rating is from a designated doctor, the claimant must request a Benefit Review Conference (BRC) by providing a complete DWC-45 disputing the MMI and/or IR. For the form to be considered complete there must be sufficient evidence to support the claimant’s position along with evidence of attempts to resolve the issue prior to requesting the hearing. If the claimant does not submit a complete request, the ninety (90) day window could run thereby eliminating injured workers’ right to dispute the rating. This could result in an injured worker being stuck with an inaccurate IR. If the ninety (90) days has already run, ratings may only be disputed if there is compelling medical evidence meeting one of the statutory exceptions under Texas Labor Code §408.123(f). To dispute MMI and IR, claimant’s legal counsel and treatment provider must coordinate quickly to prepare evidence to protect the claimant’s rights. If you have any questions about disputing an impairment rating call our Dallas office at (214)357-1782.

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