Arkansas Noteworthy Cases Interpreting the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – Fourth Edition

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Thomas A. Robinson analyzes noteworthy cases from Arkansas that interpret the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Robinson initially explains that "pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-522(g)(1)(A), the Workers' Compensation Commission is charged with adopting an impairment guide to be used in the assessment of physical impairment. Pursuant to this directive, the Commission adopted the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (4th ed. 1993) [see Ark. Work. Comp. Comm'n Rule 34, which provides that AMA Guides, 4th Ed., are to be used, exclusive of sections that refer to pain and exclusive of straightleg raising or range-of-motion tests when making physical or anatomical impairment ratings to the spine].
 
"Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4)(D) provides that a compensable injury must be established by medical evidence supported by objective findings as defined in subdivision (16) of the section. Subsection (16) defines 'objective findings' as those findings which cannot come under the voluntary control of the patient and further, that "when determining physical or anatomical impairment, neither a physician, any other medical provider, an administrative law judge, the Workers' Compensation Commission, nor the courts may consider complaints of pain'."
 
He examines in detail cases dealing with the following:
  • Cases Involving Injury to Back.
  • Cases Involving Injury to Shoulder.
  • Case Involving Injury to Leg.
  • Case Involving Injury to Foot.
  • Cases Involving Other Issues.
 
 
 
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 This article is excerpted from the new AMA Guides volume of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (Matthew Bender) (to be published October 2009). This volume on the AMA Guides is intended to help attorneys, claims adjusters, and other personnel apply the AMA Guides to individual cases. Because most insurance law and workers’ compensation law is statutorily-derived and cases are adjudicated at the state level, it is important to be familiar with the impairment rating system used in each practitioner’s state. States have different philosophies, public policies, and laws regarding the use and application of the AMA Guides to individual claims administered in that state. To that end, this Volume attempts to capture court cases that have addressed the use of the AMA Guides methodology and impairment rating system, specific to each state.