When you are injured at work, workers’ compensation benefits help pay for your medical bills and lost wages while you’re out of work.
However, when you reach what’s called maximum medical improvement (MMI), your employer can cut off certain workers’ comp benefits. It’s important to know what MMI means, and how hearing that term can impact your case.
What Is MMI?
MMI is the point at which your medical condition is considered, based on your medical team’s opinions, to have stabilized, and further improvement is unlikely. This point could be when your injuries are completely healed or, in the case of a chronic injury, the point where your doctors don’t believe any further treatment or rehabilitation will improve your condition.
Workers’ compensation uses your point of MMI to determine the time when your benefits should be cut off.
If you are deemed to have reached MMI and are cleared to return to regular work duties, for example, your workers’ comp benefits terminate and you begin working again.
In cases where you are permanently injured and cannot return to regular duties at your job, or even light duties, the courts use MMI to determine any future benefits you will receive as compensation for your injuries.
Who Determines MMI?
The point at which a worker reaches MMI can only be determined by a licensed physician.
In many cases, your treating physician will be the first one to provide an MMI date. However, your employer or their insurance company likely will require you to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to determine if you’ve truly reached MMI.
An IME is conducted by a third-party physician, chosen by your employer or their insurance company. The doctor who conducts the IME will write up a report. A copy of that report is sent to the treating physician, and you also receive a copy.
If your treating physician agrees with the report, your total compensation amount is determined and terminated on the effective date.
If your treating physician does not agree with the report, your claim is then forwarded on to the workers’ comp commission or a judge for a hearing and a determination.
Why Is MMI Important to Workers’ Comp Cases?
Your MMI is critical to the benefits you receive from your workers’ compensation case.
It determines the benefits and compensation you receive, as the MMI is considered the end point of your workers’ comp treatment. The MMI not only determines when you may return to work, but also whether you’ll ever be able to return to your job, and what benefits you can expect to receive in your case.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important that you have an experienced attorney to help guide you through the workers’ compensation process. At Lopez Law Firm, we have years of experience helping workers with a variety of injuries receive the compensation they deserve. Schedule your consultation today!