Kentucky Noteworthy Cases Interpreting the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – Fifth Edition

Kentucky Noteworthy Cases Interpreting the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment – Fifth Edition

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Thomas A. Robinson analyzes noteworthy cases from Kentucky that interpret the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Robinson initially explains that "Kentucky currently utilizes the AMA Guides, Fifth Edition. Various statutory provisions ordinarily would have mandated the use of the Sixth Edition. For example, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 342.0011 provides: (35) "Permanent impairment rating" means percentage of whole body impairment caused by the injury or occupational disease as determined by "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment," American Medical Association, latest available edition"); and (36) "Permanent disability rating" means the permanent impairment rating selected by an administrative law judge times the factor set forth in the table that appears at KRS 342.730(1)(b).
 
“Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 342.730(1)(b), requires that "the latest edition available" of the AMA Guides is to be used in determining impairment for the purpose of calculating occupational disability.
 
“During the 2009 Kentucky legislative session, however, House Bill 333 [see 2009 Bill Tracking KY H.B. 333], signed into law by the Governor on March 24, 2009, provides in relevant part: That the Fifth Edition of the AMA Guides shall remain in effect until the 2010 regular session of the Kentucky general assembly for the purposes of its application to KRS 67A.460, 342.0011, 342.315, 342.316, 342.730, and 342.7305;
 
“The Commissioner of the Department of Worker's Claims' (DWC) shall study the feasibility and advisability of adopting the Sixth Edition or of retaining the usage of the Fifth Edition;
 
“The Commissioner is required submit a report summarizing his findings to the Legislative Research Commission by January 4, 2010;
 
“The Commissioner may by-pass the study and report requirements and adopt the Sixth Edition by administrative regulation if he determines "that the welfare of Kentucky's workers would be materially enhanced by the adoption of the sixth edition.”
 
He examines in detail cases dealing with the following:
  • Cases Involving Injury to Back.
  • Case Involving Injury to Hand.
  • Case Involving Injury to Head.
  • Case Involving Injury to Head.
  • Case Involving Injury to Knee.
  • Cases Involving Other Issues.
 
 
 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.