Permanent partial disability means a permanent loss of function (or impairment) to a body part or a body system (i.e. nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.), that can be measured in accordance with The AMA Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (Third Ed. Rev.) and which directly resulted from the injury or occupational disease. A physician trained (accredited) in evaluating impairment determines the amount of permanent impairment that has resulted from the injury or disease and assigns a number in the form of a percentage.
There are two types of permanent partial disability awards under the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act.
Scheduled Injuries: Permanent impairments to arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes as well as vision and hearing are called “scheduled injuries” because these injuries are compensated based on a schedule. The schedule can be found at C.R.S. 8-42-107 (2) and assigns a value to each of these body parts. The value is expressed in weeks. For example, the little finger of the hand is assigned a value of 9 weeks. To determine the amount of an award to the little finger, 9 weeks will be multiplied by the percentage of impairment (or loss of function) the physician determines has resulted from the injury. This amount is then multiplied by the compensation rate in effect at the time of the injury. For example, if the physician determines you suffered a 50% permanent impairment to your little finger, 50% of 9 weeks equals 4 ½ weeks. If the injury occurred between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004, when the weekly compensation rate for scheduled injuries was $207.35, then the award would be calculated in the following manner: $207.35 x 4.5 weeks = $933.08
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