If you are suffering from an on-the-job injury, you are likely grateful for your workers' comp coverage. This valuable perk provides claimants with a portion of their usual wages while they recuperate at home as well as free medical care for related conditions. When it comes to workers' comp, you may have heard the term "maximum medical improvement" (MMI) and panicked. This term is easily misunderstood; it doesn't really mean that your medical coverage is about to end, but is instead a turning point in your claim process. Read on to learn more about MMI and what it means to your continued ability to earn benefits.
What is meant by maximum medical improvement?
If you have been using workers' comp for some time, you may be contacted and asked to undergo a special type of medical evaluation. The results of this medical exam can be broken down into three possibilities:
You need more time to recover from your injuries before returning to work.
You have healed enough from your injuries and should now be able to return to work.
You have reached maximum medical improvement and you will now be deemed permanently disabled.
In other words, despite continued treatments, the doctor does not think you will show any further improvement. For example, if you are still unable to use your hands and wrists even after surgery to clip your carpel tunnel nerve, you will be deemed have MMI. This medical condition can occur to those who use their hands a great deal in their work, such as typists, computer users, and small assembly workers.
What happens to my workers' comp once I have been ruled to be at MMI?
You want to make every effort to ensure that you (and your doctors) have full confidence in the extent of your medical injuries. The next step in the process is an offer of a settlement from the workers' comp insurance company, and the severity of your injury plays a major role in the amount of compensation that you can expect. For the most part, your compensation offer is based on:
- What body part or parts is affected by the injury.
- Your age and education level.
- The wage you were earning prior to your injury.
- The disability percentage you suffered. For example, it's possible to be 100% disabled, 75% disabled, or any other percentage. If you are partially disabled, you may be re-trained with vocational rehabilitation to do a different type of work.
If your claim is not getting the attention that you feel it deserves, or if you have reached the negotiation stage with the workers' comp insurance company, consider using the services of a workers' comp attorney to assist you in this vital task. You can also contact an expert in worker's comp insurance, like one from Brown & Brown of Prescott.