If you are involved in a workers' comp claim, you may have come across the term "maximum medical improvement". This term is easily misunderstood; it doesn't mean that your medical condition will never improve or that your treatment will be ending. It's important to fully understand what this term means to your ability to collect the workers' comp insurance benefit, so read on to learn more about maximum medical improvement and what it could mean to you.
What Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) Means
This determination is made by a medical doctor, normally of the workers' comp insurance company's choosing, and signals that your treatment and recovery has reached a plateau. You may still need continuing medical care, but the doctor has determined that your condition will likely not improve enough for you to return to your previous job. The timing of the ruling of MMI depends greatly on the nature of the injury. For example, severe injuries like amputations and spinal injuries are normally ruled to be MMI relativity quickly, since the prognosis for adequate improvement is not good. On the other hand, a carpal tunnel injury may take much longer to heal, and sometimes repeated surgeries are necessary. The ruling of MMI for carpal tunnel syndrome injuries could take months to attain.
What MMI Means to Your Workers' Comp Claim
A thorough evaluation of your medical condition is used to determine MMI, and it is in your best interest to wait until your injury has had a chance to heal as much as possible before making the determination. For example, you may not know the full impact that your injury may have on your life, and prematurely placing a monetary value on that injury could effect the compensation negatively.
The determination of MMI effectively means that you are permanently disabled, and the next step in the process will be a settlement offer from workers' comp. Several factors are used to determine the settlement amount offered to you, including:
*The percent of disability in total and for each affected body part.
*Which body parts are disabled.
*Your earning potential.
The Settlement Negotiation
Many people don't ever feel the need to retain a workers' comp attorney to get compensation for their workplace injuries, since they are simply seeking temporary medical care and a portion of their lost wages while they recuperate. However, being ruled permanently disabled has serious, lifelong implications and you will need to use every avenue available to ensure that you are property compensated. Negotiating a fair settlement with the workers' comp insurance company is better left to the professionals, who have a complete understanding of your loss of income and what is means for you and your family. Contact a workers' comp attorney as soon as you know that you are dealing with a permanent injury to help ensure fair compensation for your workplace injuries.
For a workers' compensation attorney, contact a law firm such as The Reed Noble Law Firm PLLC.