Legal Update: Use of the AMA Guides: 2003 Update
Cathy V. Brigham
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Christopher R. Brigham
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Abstract

The AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) is widely used in federal workers’ compensation, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Act, and automobile casualty (personal injury) cases. The AMA Guides, Fifth Edition, is widely used, but not all state workers’ compensation systems make use of the current edition; in fact, relevant state statutes may or may not specify which edition of the AMA Guides to use and how to do so. Thirty-six states make use of the AMA Guides within their workers’ compensation systems, and 23 states use the Fifth Edition. Eleven states use the AMA Guides, Fourth Edition: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana (both Fourth and Fifth Editions), Kansas, Maine, Maryland, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia. Two states use the Third Edition, Revised: Colorado and Oregon. Some states do not use the AMA Guides and instead rely on state specific guidelines, and these include California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. Other states may use their own guidelines for specific issues and use the AMA Guides for other issues (eg, state of Washington). Some states do not specify the use of any specific guidelines, including Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia. A table summarizes state statutes dealing with rating impairment in workers’ compensation cases, including AMA Guides edition most used, statute/code, comments, and relevant websites.

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