Is Impairment the Same as Disability?

When it comes to work-related injuries or illnesses, it’s crucial to understand the difference between “impairment” and “disability” before initiating a workers’ compensation claim.

Often, these terms are used interchangeably, but it’s essential to recognize that each has a specific meaning that can influence eligibility for certain benefits and the amount of compensation received.

Defining each concept

Impairment refers to any loss or abnormality in a bodily structure or function or any significant deviation from what is considered normal for a human being. This may include temporary or permanent impairments affecting a person’s physical or mental abilities.

On the other hand, a disability is a physical or mental limitation that affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities or perform specific tasks at work. While a disability may result from an impairment, not all individuals with an impairment have a disability.

Now, let’s see how these concepts are evaluated in the context of workers’ compensation:

Impairment: In the framework of workers’ compensation, impairment is assessed through medical examinations and evaluations that determine the degree of functional loss experienced by the injured person.

Disability: On the other hand, disability is assessed based on how it affects a person’s ability to work and perform in their usual job or another available job. Various factors are considered, such as education level, work experience, skills, and limitations imposed by the medical condition.

In summary, while impairment refers to the injury itself, disability focuses on how that injury affects the ability to work and perform in employment. Understanding these differences is essential for filing an effective workers’ compensation claim and obtaining appropriate benefits. If you have questions about your situation, please get in touch with us so we can assist you.