Most people have never heard the words “Maximum Medical Improvement.” In fact, even lawyers who don’t specialize in workers compensation may have no idea what it means. However, once you meet with your Chicago workers comp attorney and file your claim, you’ll become very familiar with the idea of maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI simply refers to the point at which further medical treatment will no longer benefit you. Once the doctor decides that you’ve recovered as much as you will recover, it’ll be time to resolve your workers’ compensation claim. This is when your injury lawyer in Chicago will argue for either long-term benefits or a lump sum settlement.
Here, we will explain what maximum medical improvement is. We will also explain how the determination that you’ve reached MMI can impact your workers compensation case. If you still have questions, or are concerned about your own workers comp case, give our office a call. We’ll schedule a date and time for you to come into the office to discuss your case.
What Exactly Does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean?
As briefly stated above, maximum medical improvement refers to the point at which further medical treatment would be pointless. It does not mean that you’re fully recovered. In fact, by the end of your final doctor’s appointment, your workers comp doctor will make one of the following conclusions:
- You are fully recovered and can return to work in your previous position with no restrictions.
- You are not fully healed, but there is no benefit of further medical treatment. You can return to work but only with specific limitations.
- You’ve reached MMI but are not fully healed. You will not be able to return to your previous position. You have also been declared permanently disabled to some extent.
- You have reached MMI but are not able to work at all. You have been declared totally and permanently disabled.
Depending on which of these conclusions are reached in your case, your Chicago workers comp attorney will have options. They may push for a lump sum settlement if you’re permanently disabled. If you are ready to go back to work with limitations, they may fight to get you a job back with the same employer. Or, if they think there’s a chance that you could suffer a setback in the next year or two, they may opt for long-term workers comp benefits instead.
Your Chicago Workers Comp Attorney Can Challenge Your Disability Rating
If your workers comp doctor, or independent doctor, determines that you’ve reached MMI, they may issue a disability rating. For example, if you injured your back at work and have had all possible treatment, your back may still be injured. If the doctor says you can return to work without limitations but you disagree, let your injury lawyer in Chicago know. They may have to get a separate examination by a different, independent doctor. This second doctor may find that you are permanently disabled. If this is the case, your lawyer will argue that you’re entitled to additional benefits. Or, they’ll try to negotiate a much higher lump sum settlement. It’s important to remember that, once you settle, you can never go back for additional treatment. If, however, you opt for the long-term, extended workers compensation benefits, you can always go back at some point for up to two years.
What Does MMI Mean for Your Workers Compensation Case?
Worst case scenario, the doctor determines that you’ve met MMI and that you can return to work free of any limitations. Even if you don’t agree with this assessment, your Chicago workers comp attorney may not be able to find a doctor to declare otherwise. In this situation, you will be expected to return to work. You will not be covered for any further medical treatment. Nor will you be allowed to collect any more workers comp benefits. When this happens, your injury lawyer in Chicago can always file suit on your behalf. You just want to make sure there is ample evidence showing that you have suffered a permanent disability. That will be the only way you can expect to collect damages.
Trust That Your Injury Lawyer in Chicago Will Fight to Get You Every Dime You Deserve
One of the most frustrating things about hearing you’ve reached maximum medical improvement is knowing you aren’t fully recovered. You feel like you need further medical treatment. You also believe you need more time before you return to work. Unfortunately, once the doctor has determined that you’ve attained MMI, it will be hard to get that additional time. Your Chicago workers comp attorney can have a different doctor examine you. However, your injury lawyer in Chicago can’t force the insurance company to pay for further treatment. Nor can they force your employer to agree for you to stay out another few weeks or months.
We suggest that anybody who’s been injured at work at least consult with an experienced Chicago workers comp attorney. You have no idea what will happen once you see your worker’s compensation doctor. You know deep down that your assigned doctor isn’t really on your side. The last thing they’re going to want to do is keep you out of work one day longer than absolutely necessary. This may not seem fair, but it’s the truth. Of course, your injury lawyer in Chicago can’t come out and make this argument. If they believe you aren’t ready to go back to work, they’ll need to find a doctor who will argue that you haven’t reached MMI.
You can call our office at any time and schedule your free, initial consultation. Take advantage of the opportunity to sit down with an experienced Chicago workers comp attorney who’s been through the process hundreds of times. They will do their best to make sure you aren’t forced back to work early. They will also fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.