While an impairment and a disability may sound like similar things, there is a clear distinction between the two that becomes crucial in workers’ compensation cases. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between disability and impairment in workers’ comp claims and how to get help fighting for the medical care and benefits you deserve after being injured at work. 

What Is Impairment? 

The simplest definition of “impairment” is a problem with a part or structure of the body. Typically in workers’ comp cases, this means an injury. However, in cases where the claim alleges work-related illness, more than one part of the body may be involved. 

What Is Disability? 

Disability refers to the degree to which the impairment affects the function of the injured person, typically in regard to the ability to work and complete daily tasks. Some impairments do not cause disability, even if they are significant. Other impairments, even if minor, can cause partial or complete disability. 

How Impairment and Disability Factor Into Workers’ Comp Claims 

The differences between impairment and disability are important to workers’ compensation cases. For example, say two factory employees severed their fingers in a machine on the job. One employee’s finger was able to be successfully reattached soon after the incident and their prognosis is good with rehabilitation and physical therapy. Say the other employee’s finger could not be reattached successfully and they will be permanently missing a digit for the rest of their lives. 

Both employees experienced the same injury, or impairment, to their finger. However, both employees do not have the same disability. The first employee may regain full function of their hand and be able to return to work without difficulty. The second employee, however, may not be able to return to work for a significant length of time and even then, they may be unable to perform the same tasks as before. 

How a Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You 

If you or someone in your family were injured at work, it’s important that you don’t try to file a workers’ comp claim on your own. Neither the workers’ comp insurance company nor your employer is on your side, so it’s in your best interests to have an experienced attorney in your corner who can help advocate for your rights. 

Contact experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyer Marshall Adler today for your initial consultation by calling 407-648-5523.