Workers' compensation law in each state has a fairly straightforward method for how certain permanent disabilities should be rated and compensated. For example, if your left hand is permanently injured but the injury is not severe, you may be rated with a 10 percent permanent disability. Meanwhile, a more serious injury would warrant a 60 percent disability. Compensation would be based on that percentage, factoring in your average weekly income prior to injury.
Still, there is a broad degree of discretion granted to hearing officers, commissions and courts in determining the extent of injury and benefits.
In the recent case of Lambdin v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., plaintiff suffered hearing loss and requested workers' compensation loss after retirement. Although there were no strict guidelines for the degree of hearing loss beyond a certain point, plaintiff successfully made a claim for higher benefits based on the submission of expert witness testimony regarding methods for rating impairment that are accepted by the medical industry.