What permanent work restrictions mean for workers comp benefits in Wisconsin is often asked by injured workers after the end of healing. When your treating physician or surgeon says you are at an end of healing for workers compensation purposes, he or she may assign a permanent partial disability percentage for which you are entitled to PPD benefits. If the doctor also assigns permanent work restrictions, there may be more workers comp benefits available.
After a cervical or lumbar fusion, the surgeon usually assigns work-related permanent work restrictions to protect the injured worker from aggravating the condition or re-injury. Often the surgeon requests that the employee have a functional capacity evaluation, performed by a physical therapist. Workers compensation insurance companies often refuse to pay for an FCE, arguing it is not treatment. Experienced workers compensation attorneys often pay for the FCE up front and get reimbursed out of any settlement or judge’s decision at the conclusion of the case. An FCE can take up to eight hours or even two days, but the most common are two to four hours in length. The FCE consists of lifting and movement tests often while the injured worker’s heart rate is monitored in an attempt to measure effort. The FCE results are compiled into a report the PT sends to the surgeon.
The surgeon reviews the FCE results, often with the patient present, then the surgeon fills out a form such as a physical capacities questionnaire, PCQ, on which the doctor assigns the permanent work restrictions. Work restrictions cover not only how many pounds a person should not lift over, but also how the injured worker should limit his or her range of motion, for example, no repetitive bending, twisting or turning at the waist if a person suffered a low back injury and lumbar spinal fusion.
After permanent work restrictions are determined by the back surgeon, the next step is to present the restrictions to your employer to see if the employer can allow you to return to work. If the employer can accommodate your restrictions allowing you to earn at least 85% of your date of injury wage rate, then PPD workers comp benefits may be it. However, if you cannot return to work, we have you evaluated to determine your loss of earing capacity benefits and/or eligibility for vocational retraining benefits.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin represent injured workers with neck and low back injuries involving cervical fusion surgery and lumbar fusion surgery in worker’s compensation claims. To get the best results in workers compensation claims it is important that the medical records document honest and trustworthy facts of the injury and how it is work-related.