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SELECTED INDICATORS IN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION:  A REPORT CARD FOR CALIFORNIANS

Disability Evaluation Unit

The DWC Disability Evaluation Unit (DEU) determines PD ratings by assessing physical and mental impairments in accordance with the Permanent Disability Rating Manual.  The ratings are used by workers' compensation judges, injured workers, and insurance claims administrators to determine PD benefits.  

The DEU prepares three types of ratings:

(1) Formal, done at the request of a workers' compensation judge;

(2) Consultative, done at the request of an attorney or DWC information and assistance officer; and

(3) Summary, done at the request of a claims administrator or injured worker.  

Summary ratings are done only on non-litigated cases, whereas formal consultative ratings are done only on litigated cases.

The rating is a percentage that estimates how much a job injury permanently limits the kinds of work the injured employee can do. It is based on the employee’s medical condition, date of injury, age when injured, occupation when injured, how much of the disability is caused by the employee’s job, and his or her diminished future earning capacity.  It determines the number of weeks that the injured employee is entitled to PD benefits.

The following charts depict the DEU workload during 2003, 2004, and 2005. The first chart shows the written ratings produced each year by type.  The second chart illustrates the total number of written and oral ratings each year.

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