Employees in Athens, GA who have sustained injuries or fallen ill at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This form of compensation comes in varying ways, including payment for medical bills, and a portion of their weekly wages. However, these benefits come with a time limit, and also certain criteria to be met in order to be eligible.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, it needs to be done in a manner that shows you really deserve these benefits. A major aspect of this is comprehending what Athens maximum medical improvement actually entails. If you do not know how to go about this, then call our offices in Athens, GA at 770-796-0919 and let our workers’ compensation lawyers in Athens assist you through the process.
We are available round the clock and have helped many individuals over the years with workers’ compensation issues, including the claims process, disputes as well as maximum medical improvement. Reach out today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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What is Maximum Medical Improvement
Workers’ comp provides coverage over a predetermined recovery period. When your recovery hits the maximum medical improvement stage, then the recovery period can be terminated.
Maximum medical improvement or MMI implies that an injury has reached a stage where any further treatment wouldn’t improve the condition any further. In some situations, maximum medical improvement is reached when the injury has completely healed and the patient is back to the level they were before the workplace accident. Keep in mind, however, that MMI does not necessarily imply full recovery. It denotes that treatment is no longer effective.
For an injured worker, MMI diagnosis can mean the following:
- Their injuries are fully healed and they can able to get back to work
- Their injuries are not fully healed, but the physician has determined the injuries won’t get any better. In such a case, you can be able to get back to work if your role is within your new limitations.
- Their injuries are not healed, but the doctor has determined their condition won’t get any better. The physician puts an impairment rating on the injury. Also, in this situation, the patient may be eligible for extended IIBs or Impairment Income Benefits.
Who Determines When the Worker Has Reached Maximum Medical Improvement?
Only a physician qualifies to determine when a patient has reached maximum medical improvement. The insurance provider has the right to ask for an independent medical exam in order to determine the MMI in accordance with the victim’s medical assessment and history. Next, they will file a report and submit copies to the employer, insurance carrier, treating physician as well as the patient.
The next stage in this process depends on the physician. If they concur with the report submitted by the medical examiner, the temporary workers’ comp is terminated, either on the date of the medical examination or of the responsible practitioner’s approval.
If the doctor disagrees with the independent medical examiner’s report, they will forward the claim to a workers’ compensation judge or the Industrial Commission for hearing. As such, the judge has the final say in regards to the maximum medical improvement.
In some cases, reaching MMI implies that the individual has fully recovered and doesn’t have working limitations going forward. However, the line tends to be blurry, and the worker’s future can’t be guaranteed to remain the same. If some treatment methods haven’t been tried, they have the potential to get better, but also, there’s the chance of the condition getting worse.
Does Medical Treatment Continue After a Maximum Medical Improvement Diagnosis?
If your physician determines that you have reached MMI, it doesn’t mean that medical treatments will halt. You can continue to get annual doctor visits as well as help in pain management.
Expenses related to these visits and assistance will be covered by the employer as long as this ongoing treatment is necessary. Also, it doesn’t imply that the workers’ wage replacement disability benefits will stop.
If you are in a situation where your employer says you might lose your benefits, you may want to consult a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer like one from the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition in Athens, GA. You’ll need to work with a Georgia board-certified workers’ comp lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.
What Happens If I Can’t Go Back to Work and Perform at the Same Level After MMI Diagnosis?
In such a situation, you have the option to accept what’s referred to as the Clincher Agreement. This implies that you may opt to settle for a particular amount of money as you have reached the Athens Maximum Medical Improvement.
Your line of work may require you to perform at a particular level, something that you may not be able to do any longer. This may call for training for another role, and at the very least, get a settlement for your injuries or condition, as you move on to another profession, in search of a viable position.
Every step of this process needs to be considered carefully, and as you may have guessed, the best route is to work with professionals like the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition in Athens, GA, who have helped hundreds of people who were in the same situation.
Call Our Experienced Lawyers Today to Better Understand Athens Maximum Medical Improvement
Navigating the world of workers’ compensation law in Georgia can sometimes be hard, particularly if the physician deems you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you are no longer capable of doing your job as before or need ongoing treatment for your condition, you may want to pursue legal action in order to protect your rights.
So, do not hesitate to call an experienced lawyer at Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition Atlanta to help you with the case. If you’re not certain what to do or think your rights will soon be violated, call our Athens, GA office at 770-796-0919 for a free, no-obligation consultation! Keep in mind that your financial future and profession may depend on what you do here, do not gamble your chances of getting the best results, only go for experienced lawyers.