There comes a turning point in every worker’s compensation case; whether it be returning to work, stopping benefits, or having reached maximum medical improvement. The latter, referring to a point in which your injury has gotten as good as it’s gonna get. But, what exactly is maximum medical improvement? When do I know I’ve reached it? And where do we go from here, being that you still need medical assistance?
Maximum Medical Improvement: What does it mean? And what’s the next step?
Maximum medical improvement (or, MMI) signifies the point act which you’ve reached your maximum potential for recovery. You might not be back to your 100%, and you still might need assistance— maybe even indefinitely. But, it’s as good as it’s going to get for you.
How do I know I’ve reached this point?
That decision is going to come from your doctor. They will be there with you every step of your recovery journey. Therefore, these doctors will be the one to make the determination of MMI.
What happens next?
From the point that you are notified of your MMI, there will be a few different options. These options will also be assigned by your doctor:
Permanent Partial Disability (or, PPD): a PPD means that your body is permanently disabled in some way. From there, you may accept a payment from the company indefinitely as a settlement for you injury. Or, you may go to court to further that settlement.
Permanent Work Restriction: this type of restriction basically limit the amount and type of work you are able to perform. From here, you’ll decide whether your current employment is a good fit, or if you should consider other opportunities. When going through the process, your employer can give you certain responsibilities that meet your restricted needs— taking the place of your real job. However, once you’ve reached MMI, it must be a real job and not just shifted responsibilities.
You still likely can obtain benefits…
This injury is a result of the job; those responsibilities of yours are party to your current condition. So, it’s only right that the company pay you for damages. Your ability to work, function normally, and make a suitable wage— might be different now. Therefore, it’s important that you seek out an attorney. At the point of reaching MMI, you now know that your life will forever be a little bit different. So, it’s time to consider your options. You may require special services, physical therapy, or emotional support for your current condition. Understand that you don’t have to go at this, or pay for this, on your own.