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Understanding a Permanent Impairment Rating

Have you been injured at work? Speak with one of the Workers Compensation Attorneys at Prior, Criner & Edwards.

Call today to discuss your options (910) 341-3202


To recap, a workers’ compensation claim allows employees to collect benefits from their employer for on-the-job injuries. This includes medical treatment costs and paychecks from the employer during an employee’s time of absence. Though many accidents luckily lead to nothing more but cuts, broken bones or a short time away from work, sometimes injuries turn into permanent life changes.

Permanently injured workers are entitled to disability benefits under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law. A defined list of covered body parts can be found under North Carolina’s Statute § 97-31. In order to decide on an exact settlement amount, the impairment rating must be assigned by a treating physician. Impairment ratings are given during the end of an employer’s healing period (when there is no further treatment available to improve the condition). The physician assesses the condition through a physical examination to determine the severity of the permanent impairment. No matter which part of the body is injured, the doctor performs a series of tests towards the injury to decide on the impairment level. Based on the examination results, the physician assigns a rating that represents the impairment percentage of the injured body part. Keep in a mind it is the employee’s choice to get a second opinion if the rating seems unsatisfactory.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission must approve the permanent impairment disability in order for an employee to receive payment. A lump sum is the most common type of settlement, but some cases are paid out weekly for a specified amount of weeks.

It’s important to remember that permanent disability claims are only made near the end of a workers’ compensation claim. This is when a worker has reached maximum medical improvement and permanent disability is evaluated.

If you’ve been injured on-the-job and been seeking medical treatment, but know that your condition is not getting better; it’s time to look into receiving a injury rating from your doctor. If you have questions about the rating process, concerns regarding the rating given to you or need help with your worker’s compensation claim, we can help. Injuries, whether sever or not, need to be taken seriously by you and your employer. Our attorneys are ready to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us to get started on your case today.

Call today for a free consultation and explore your options - (910) 341-3202

Our Attorneys

Our attorneys specialize in workman's comp, personal injury, and dispute resolution services.

We have have a long history of building long-term client relationships founded on trust and mutual respect.


Frank Prior - Attorney

Frank Prior

With over 25 years of experience in civil litigation and thousands of cases mediated, Frank specializes in the fields of workers compensation and personal injury law.

Sherman Lee Criner - Attorney

Sherman Lee Criner

Sherman is Licensed to Practice Law in North and South Carolina. He has extensive education in law and the mediation practice, professional experience and impressive memberships in many noteworthy political, civic and business organizations.

Ashley Edwards - Attorney

Ashley M. Edwards

Ashley is a NC attorney and certified mediator in North and South Carolina, Ashley has represented hundreds of clients and mediated thousands of cases for attorneys, insurance carriers and private companies. 

Client Feedback

“These guys are awesome and care about their clients very much. I would suggest anyone hurt on the job to contact them. Cannot express my appreciation enough to them!"

Trevor P.

“Ashley Edwards genuinely cares about his clients and holds himself to the highest standards in all of his professional interactions. I am happy to recommend him to anyone who needs help navigating the workers compensation process."

Patrick H.

“Ashley has been practicing compensation law in the greater Wilmington area for 15+ years. I have often turned to him for advice and counsel. He knows the law, is trustworthy, listens to his clients, and fights to do the right thing for them. He is my first call!"

Channing E.

“Mr Edwards made my case feel like it was his most important case. He is so caring and attentive."

Renee M.

“This was the first and only law firm I contacted after being injured. Everyone there has been on point concerning my case and extremely professional. I highly recommend contacting workers comp first if injured. It will be as if it's the most important case they have and they will not disappoint. Thank you to the entire team."

Stephen H.

“Wonderful Experience under difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my rights and options under the law. Mr. Edwards took the time to help and meet with me whenever I had questions. He is highly recommended for his expert advice and service. "

Ashley M.

“This is the place to go if you get hurt on the job Ashley and his paralegal Janet are really nice and super easy to talk to and they take the time to really listen to your problems and get you the help you need and deserve."

Anthony R.

“They came out took out time to listen very smart he knows what he's talking about he heard me out and took my case under difficult sircumstances and i highly advise this is the law firm to consider."

Marlo C.

“Sherman is one of the best mediators that I know---he is extremely proficient in Workers' Compensation Law and he is an outstanding communicator. I give Sherman my highest rating!"

Peer Review - Lawyers.com

“Great Experience with a caring lawyer who took the time to actually meet with me. He handled my case to the end and explained everything. Highly recommended."


“Ashley is very knowledgeable and relatable to his clients, to opposing counsel, and to all parties when acting as mediator. "

Peer Review - Lawyers.com

“Ashley didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear but he always told me the truth. He is very knowledgeable and professional... I would highly recommend Ashley if you feel the need to hire an attorney. "


Get in touch with our team for a free consultation.

Call (910) 341-3202 or complete the form on this page and we'll follow-up with you as soon as possible.


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