“Reverse” Almaraz/Guzman applied

In a decision after reconsideration a WCAB panel has rejected a 15% PD award to the right knee based on the AME’s standard rating under the AME Guides as outlined in his report.  Instead, the WCAB focused on the AME’s deposition testimony noting an incongruity between the WPI rating and the applicant’s admission that she could perform “any and all activities on an industrial basis.”

The AME testified that the AMA Guides did not justify a rating above 7% in the absence of any limitation on activities of daily living.  The WCAB held that the judge should have followed the AME’s testimony and awarded less PD than would otherwise be warranted by a plain reading of the AMA Guides for this post-surgical knee claim.

The Board relied on Almaraz/Guzman‘s holding that the AMA Guides do not need to be followed if it does not provide an accurate description of the applicant’s actual impairment.  In this case, Riley v. City of Pasadena, because the applicant admitted that her activities of daily living were little diminished after her knee injury and surgery, the most accurate impairment description was much less than the strict rating under AME Guides.

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