Permanent impairment claim – combining components of impairments of limbs

We have noticed a reasonably regular error made by doctors in assessing permanent impairment of limbs when there are several components to the impairment of that limb. It involves ignoring chapter 2.8 of the SIRA Impairment Guides in respect of upper extremity assessments and chapter 3.6 in respect of lower extremity impairments.

Chapter 2.8 states that regional impairments of the same limb (e.g. several upper extremity impairments – UEI’s) should be combined before converting to percentage of WPI.

Chapter 3.6 states regional impairments of the same limb (e.g. several lower extremity impairments-LEI’s) should be combined before converting to a percentage of whole person impairment.

For example if there are several components in respect of a knee injury, Table 17.33 of the AMA5 guides should be applied by looking at the impairment components and their LEI’s. Those LEI’s are then ‘combined’ using the AMA5 combined values table. Then Table 17.3 of the AMA5 guides is used to convert the total lower extremity impairment (LEI) to whole person impairment. It is incorrect to combine the WPI assessments of the individual components.

For example if there is a finding of moderate cruciate ligament laxity (7% WPI/17% LEI) and patellar subluxation (3% WPI/7% LEI) the correct approach is to “combine” 17% with 7% (producing a “combined” 23% LEI) and then apply Table 17.3 to convert that to 9% WPI. It is incorrect to merely combine 7% WPI with 3% WPI to produce 10% WPI.

Download the Hicksons App for the latest Solution: “Tip of the Week: Getting it Right – the correct method to combine multiple regional impairments of the same limb” 

Post by John Smidmore

Most Popular Articles


Commonwealth Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

On 26 October 2017 the Federal Social Services Minister introduced two bills facilitating a Commonwealth redress scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017- Effects on Section 151Z(1)(d) – Indemnity Claims

The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 commences operation on 1 December 2017.
Firm News

Welcome to our new site

Hicksons are excited by the launch of our new website.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Keeping you connected, Hicksons regularly publishes articles to keep you up to date on the latest developments. To receive these updates via email, please subscribe below and indicate which areas of law you would like to receive information on.