In Determining WPI Physical and Pyschological Impairment Scores are to be Combined

July 17, 2017, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Matthews and Dumfries

Date of Decision: June 27, 2017
Heard Before: Adjudicator David Evans


Catastrophic Impairment: must consider both physical and psychological impairments when calculating WPI (whole person impairment); scores to be combined.

Appeal Order

Mr. Matthews appealed Arbitrator Mashkuri’s order that he did not sustain a catastrophic impairment in the meaning of the SABs as the result of his car accident.

The appeal was made on the basis that Arbitrator Mashkuri did not include the psychological components of his injuries, which he argued would have resulted in a >55% whole person impairment (WPI) finding him catastrophically impaired.

Arbitrator Evans reviewed the case and determined that both the neurological and psychological components of the injuries must be considered when determining catastrophic impairment to arrive at a WPI. Arbitrator Evans found Arbitrator Mashkuri erred in not combing the scores. The necessity for this is set out in Despeins, in that the Guides – “Chapter 14 includes descriptions of the different classes of impairments making it clear that psychological impairment can seriously impede virtually every area of a person’s functioning, so they should be considered along with the physical dysfunctions.”

Arbitrator Evans concluded that “The Arbitrator erred in failing to include the WPI assessment of Chapter 14 in reaching the WPI. Pursuant to the combined Values Chart at p 232 of the Guide, combining the 49% for total physical impairment with the 20% for mental and behavioural disorder impairment lead to a combine value of 59%. That exceeds the 55% WPI threshold for catastrophic impairment, so Mr. Matthews is catastrophically impaired and the Arbitrator erred in finding otherwise.”

 

Posted under Accident Benefit News, Automobile Accident Benefits, Catastrophic Injury

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