You are here

5.2.5 If None of the Tables in the Guide Apply - AMA Guides


If the impairment under investigation is of a kind that cannot be assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Approved Guide, the Introduction to the Approved Guide authorises reference to the provisions of the current American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (the AMA Guides) in making the assessment. Note, however, that the AMA Guides are to be used only in very rare cases where it is not possible for a person's condition to be assessed under the Approved Guide.

If there is at least one way in the Approved Guide to rate the functional impact of the impairments of an injury (even if the given rating is zero), then we should use the Approved Guide and not turn to the AMA.

However, we can use the AMA where the tables in the Approved Guide are not able to assess the injuries (i.e. the impairments that are actually occurring) on a bodily system. 

Some (non-exhaustive) examples would include the assessment of:

  • fingers or toes in place of Tables 9.4 of 9.5; 
  • bruxism (not covered by a table); and
  • peripheral neuropathy (not covered by a table)

Further discussion of the AMA Guides is contained later in this chapter.


  • Canute v Comcare (2006) HCA 47 : discrete injuries to be assessed separately
  • Comcare v Bozicevic (1997) 74 FCR 260; 144 ALR 132; 25 AAR 98
  • Commonwealth Employees' Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Act 1992 (No 264/1992) : Loss of sense of taste or smell added to excepted impairments
  • Whittaker v Comcare (1998) 28 AAR 55 (FFC 98/1099, 7/9/98) : Choice of most favourable Table