Workers Compensation is a broad topic that covers many forms of compensation based on a person’s injury type. For this reason, you will hear many terms describing Workers’ Compensation and the injuries that result in any work relief claim.
One of these terms is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Maximum medical improvement simply means that a victim’s treatment options have been exhausted. Therefore, if your doctor mentions the terms MMI, you should consult a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer.
At Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, we are committed to getting you the best result. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We are ready to answer any question you may have and guide you through the complicated legal processes pertaining to your case. We do not charge anything for the first or initial consultation services. Speak to us today at (833) 406-0060!
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What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
Maximum medical improvement means that the treatment options for a particular injury have been exhausted. It means that the injured employee has reached a state where his/her condition cannot improve further. This translates to either the patient has fully recovered, or his/her condition has stabilized.
When a doctor mentions these words; he/she is referring to no further healing or improvement is considered possible, and the injured area will remain the same despite further medical treatment or rehabilitation programs. Therefore, whenever a person receiving workers’ compensation benefits reaches MMI, their present condition is going to be assessed, and a degree of partial or permanent disability will be determined.
The degree of the disability will affect the amount of benefit the worker will be awarded. In fact, temporary disability payment will be terminated, and a settlement worked out based on the condition.
The moment a doctor or physician declares MMI has been reached, the doctor will give them a disability rating. The patient’s attorney would receive a written statement from the doctor describing the disability and its rating. The doctor or physician is also supposed to inform the employer of what task the patient is physically capable of doing and if they are in a position to return to work. All these limitations are known as “Work Restrictions.”
Who Determines When An Employee Has Achieved Maximum Medical Improvement?
A qualified and registered physician is the only person who can determine if a worker has reached MMI. That is because they are in a profession where they can assess injuries, monitor their healing process, as well as the maximum medical improvement.
A Workers’ Compensation insurance company has the legal right to request an independent medical examination for confirmation. They will do this by finding an expert in the medical field who will go through the patient’s medical history and conduct medical examinations. After this, they will file a report and submit copies to the insurance carrier, the employer, the treating physician, and the patient.
The next step will depend on if the treating physician and the independent physician agree or not.
• Disagreement – If the treating physician disagrees with the report by the independent physician, the report/claim will be forwarded to a Workers Compensation Judge or Industrial Commission for a special hearing. In this instance, the judge has the final say if MMI has been reached.
• Agreement – If both parties agree or come to the same conclusion, the patient’s temporary Workers’ Compensation will be terminated. If the patient has a disability rating, further settlement negotiations will take place.
NOTE: The term ‘Reaching MMI’ is also used to describe a patient who has fully recovered and has no work-related limitation. Sadly, when it comes to these cases, the line is often blurry, and the injured employee’s future cannot be guaranteed to stay the same.
Does Medical Treatment Continue After An MMI Diagnosis?
The short and direct answer is YES! Just because the doctor says you have reached MMI does not mean that you cannot receive further medical treatment if you wish. In other words, the statement does not mention that no further medical treatment is needed.
In fact, after reaching Maximum Medical Improvement, you can use your lifetime medical award to visit a doctor and get diagnosis tests like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, work hardening, physical therapy, injections, prescription medication, and other care such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.
What Happens If You Cannot Return To Work Or Perform At The Same Level After Reaching MMI?
It is important to note that Workers’ Compensation varies from one state to another. For example, in some states, you will be allowed to file for unemployment, while in others you are not.
Unfortunately, in the state of Ohio, you are not allowed to file unemployment for several reasons. The first is that you are telling the Social Security Administration that you are unable to work. On the other hand, filing for unemployment means you are ready, willing, and able to work, but because of no fault of your own, cannot find a job.
This is why it is important to speak to a qualified Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyer. If you are unable to work and reached MMI, there are many ways a lawyer will help you.
Contact us today to learn more about your options. At Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, we have a team of experienced workers comp attorneys who are ready and willing to help you. Book your free consultation with us, and let us protect your rights.
Contact Us Today to Learn More About Maximum Medical Improvement
Determining fair compensation where an injured victim has reached MMI is another area of disagreement that can lead to workers’ compensation disputes. This position forces a victim to choose between a full-lump settlement or continuing to receive benefits to cover financial and medical care.
At Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, we treat our cases as though they are the most important thing in the world. This means that we offer personalized services and are committed to getting you the best results. We have the skills, knowledge, experience, and a team of dedicated professional lawyers who all bring a unique set of skills to the table.
During the initial free consultation, we will listen to your case, and based on the information you give us, we will come up with the best legal action to take. Speak to us today at (833) 406-0060 to learn more.