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5.4 When is an Impairment Stable?

Essentially, it is a matter of medical evidence when an impairment becomes stable for the purposes of PI compensation. A delegate should rely, in particular, on medical opinion to establish a date when the impairment stabilised.  However, the last date of any active (as opposed to palliative) treatment of the impairment may also be indicative of stabilisation, if that treatment is no longer required.

It is important to note that there is a difference between the date an impairment becomes stable and the date of permanent impairment. An impairment may well be permanent (i.e. likely to continue indefinitely) but not yet stable (e.g. a back injury where a disc has ruptured and the client's condition is still deteriorating). Similarly, an impairment could be stable, but not permanent, because it is likely treatment will resolve the condition.

In some cases impairment may be intermittent; that is, remain at a low or negligible level of impairment between discrete episodes of increased impairment.  A sufferer of epilepsy who remains well between “fits” is a useful example.  This does not necessarily mean that the impairment should not be considered stable.