Whole Person Impairment (WPI)
Whole Person Impairment (WPI) is the technique by which the degree of a catastrophic impairment is determined or calculated. Measured in percentages, WPI is a rating system that is taken into consideration when applying for benefits under catastrophic injury. WPI acts as the mechanism that is used to map out the extent of a catastrophic injury. This system is necessary as the recovering compensation for catastrophic injuries is much higher compared to that of non-catastrophic ones.
Definition: What is Catastrophic Impairment?
In layman’s terms, an injury is termed as a “catastrophic” injury if it significantly reduces your ability to live the life you had been living before the accident. Typically, six conditions are considered to be “catastrophic.” The conditions are paralysis, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, that leaves a person unable to use some or all of his limbs or torso; amputation that results in complete loss of function of an arm or leg; total loss of vision in both eyes; severe brain impairment, such as suffering from a vegetative state; a combination of impairments that results in a 55 percent impairment of an entire person; or, any marked or extreme impairment caused by a mental or behavioural disorder.
The catastrophic injury requires proof of at least one from the following:
- Severely impaired ambulatory mobility of use of an arm
- Loss of vision in both eyes
- Traumatic brain injury
- Physical impairment resulting in 55 percent of the whole person
- Mental or behavioural disability of 55 percent of the whole person
- Impairment of three or more functional areas
Definition: What is Whole Person Impairment (WPI)?
Whole Person Impairment is the rating system through which the extent of a person’s catastrophic injury is calculated. In simpler words, it’s a method to calculate what percentage of your “personality” or “behaviour” has been permanently impaired due to physical or mental injuries.
Whole Person Impairment (WPI) Assessment
WPI is the summation of a victim's all impairments—whether physical or mental. In other words, if a person has lost his/her vision in an accident and if it results in psychological impairments then both the disabilities need to be added. This way, an assessment of the degree of this person's permanent impairment can be derived. This is called the "WPI Rating System." The WPI rating is calculated using the WPI formula provided by SABS.
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