What Maximum Medical Improvement Could Mean For Hurt Workers

For those hurt on the job, your employer's insurance coverage provides a lot of great benefits. Hurt workers with an approved claim could be paid a partial salary along with medical expenses. Some injuries, though, don't heal in a timely manner. Read on to find out what the milestone of maximum medical improvement (MMI) means for your workers' compensation claim.

What Does MMI Mean?

Once you begin receiving workers' comp benefits, the numbers start adding up. Workers' comp, like all insurance businesses, only makes money when they keep their debits low and their credits high. Hurt workers cost money and the insurer wants to maintain their low costs. That means that if you have been paid benefits for a while, the insurer may want to verify the status of your medical condition by asking you to undergo a medical exam, such as the independent medical exam (IME). This exam is meant to pinpoint your level of healing along with your ability to return to your previous job. In some cases, an injury is too severe and the worker is permanently disabled. That is the same thing as the ruling of MMI.

What Happens Next?

You don't necessarily have to agree with the MMI ruling. If you think your injury is getting better and are looking forward to a return to work, you can appeal the MMI ruling. Conversely, if you were not ruled at MMI, you may be ordered to return to work by your workers' comp doctor. If you are unable to return to your job, don't do it. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort that you believe prevents you from working, you must appeal the ruling. Never return to work unless you are ready and healthy, no matter what the doctor says.

Speak to a Workers' Comp Lawyer

If you disagree with the MMI ruling, you have some alternative options and you will need some professional help to take advantage of them. You can, for example, ask to have another IME performed by a neutral third-party doctor. Since your initial IME was performed by a doctor under contract to the workers' comp insurer, some neutrality might provide fresh insights into your true state of health and healing. In the meantime, however, your benefits may be stopped leaving you with no job and no help from the workers' comp. A workers' comp lawyer can help you get things back on track with the insurer, stand by you at appeal hearings, and help you negotiate a settlement that covers what you need to be covered. Speak to a workers' compensation lawyer to find out more.