Disputing an impairment rating in a California workers’ compensation claim is a very complicated ordeal. Always remember that the first impairment rating must be disputed within 90 days or you will likely get stuck with it.
There are two ways to dispute an impairment rating: one is to request a designated doctor, and the second is to request a benefit review conference. The hard part is figuring out which method to use and when.
First, you must determine whether or not a designated doctor has ever been appointed on your claim by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. A designated doctor is a state-appointed doctor who may have been asked to determine your impairment rating, or she may have been asked to determine your work ability, the extent of your injury, etc. If a designated doctor has ever been appointed on your case, the only way you can dispute the first impairment rating is by requesting a benefit review conference.
If a designated doctor has never been appointed on your claim for any reason, then you can dispute the first impairment rating by requesting a designated doctor for that purpose.
If you have read this and you still aren’t sure what to do, then request a benefit review conference because that works in both scenarios. Because a benefit review conference is an administrative hearing, I suggest that you contact a local attorney to attend that BRC with you. Never go to a legal proceeding without a lawyer.