If you have been injured in a work-related accident and are seeking to be compensated with workers' compensation insurance, you may have heard the term "maximum medical improvement," or MMI. This term should not be misunderstood; it doesn't mean that your medical treatment has come to an end. It's important to understand the implications of maximum medical improvement. Read on for vital facts about MMI and how it relates to your workers' compensation claim.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
This term describes a point in time during your treatment where the doctor declares that your injury is not going to get any better, regardless of further treatments such as surgery or physical therapy. For example, if you fell at work and strained a muscle in your back and all available treatments only temporarily alleviate the pain, you might be at maximum medical improvement.
On the other hand, what if you slipped and fell at work and broke your wrist? Suppose your broken wrist has been surgically mended, but painful scar tissue has formed at the surgical site. Your doctor feels that another surgery would remove the scar tissue and lessen your pain. You are not at maximum medical improvement yet.
How Does Maximum Medical Improvement Affect My Workers' Comp Claim?
1. While you may be eager to reach a settlement with your employer's insurance company, the declaration of MMI is for your benefit. It takes times to know the full effect of some injuries, and placing a dollar amount on your injuries prematurely could cost you a fair compensation amount.
2. The workers' compensation insurance company uses the declaration of MMI to calculate your settlement. If you reach MMI, you will be permanently disabled and therefore eligible to receive compensation based on several factors such as:
- The body parts or parts affected.
- The percentage of disability for each body part.
- Your age and potential for earnings loss.
Negotiating The Settlement
Once you have reached MMI, the settlement negotiations can begin. If there was ever a time during your claim process that you considered the need for a workers' comp attorney, now is the time. Settlement negotiation is not for the faint of heart; the workers' comp insurance company knows how to play hard-ball to keep the amount offered to you as low as possible.
The best time to seek the advice and help of a workers' compensation attorney at a firm like Shoap Law Offices is early on in the claims process so that they can pave the way for a successful claim and settlement offer. Make sure you have an advocate by your side to help you get the compensation to are entitled to.