Being injured on the job can have serious consequences. If your injury is severe, you may be asked to work reduced hours or to avoid work entirely. These restrictions are sometimes temporary, but some workers may still be impaired after reaching the Douglasville Maximum Medical Improvement.
If your physician has given you an MMI diagnosis, you may be confused, and it’s likely that you have questions about what comes next. The experienced attorneys at Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition can provide you with resources, support, and guidance as you enter this stage of your life. We know this can be difficult, but we’re here to help.
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What is Douglasville Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
When a doctor declares that a patient will not see further improvement after an injury, that patient has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This does not necessarily mean that a patient has made a full recovery. It simply means that all treatments have been exhausted and that future treatment is not expected to change the patient’s condition.
MMI can be controversial, and physicians may not always agree that a patient will no longer improve. In workers’ compensation cases, an employer may request that a patient be examined by a second physician after receiving an MMI diagnosis. If there is a dispute, the case will be heard by a judge.
After you have reached MMI, it is possible to accurately estimate the full value of your workers’ compensation claim. When you are no longer able to recover from your injury, it will be possible for a physician to determine the extent of your limitations.
Who Determines When The Employee Has Achieved MMI?
Only a physician can decide that a patient has attained MMI. Once a patient has reached this point in their treatment, they will be evaluated and provided with a disability rating. Employees will receive information about their current capabilities and will be told if there are any work restrictions that should be followed.
In some cases, employees may be permanently impaired as a result of their injuries. In these cases, an employee may not be able to work or may not be able to do the same type of work that they did prior to their injury. This could mean that an employee is eligible to receive permanent disability benefits.
When a Douglasville employer disagrees that a patient has reached MMI, they can request that the patient receive an additional evaluation. If one physician states that an employee is no longer expected to improve, while another believes that the employee could benefit from addition treatments, a judge will examine reports from both physicians before making a ruling on the employee’s condition.
Will Your Medical Treatment Continue After an MMI Diagnosis?
When a patient receives an MMI diagnosis, they are no longer eligible to receive treatment that is intended to improve their condition. However, patients are still eligible to receive treatment that will help them to manage their symptoms and can keep them from getting worse.
Patients that have reached MMI are not expected to get better if they receive further treatment, but their condition could become worse over time. This is why patients must be assessed by a physician that can determine their limitations and the care that they will require in the future.
Under Georgia law, insurance companies are required to cover treatment that can relieve symptoms and reduce pain. If your employer’s insurance company argues that treatment is no longer necessary because you are no longer capable of improvement, you should talk to a lawyer that will protect your rights.
What Happens if are Unable to go Back to Work or Work at the Same Level?
While the goal of treatment is to help a patient heal from their injury, not all patients are able to go back to work or to work without restrictions after being given an MMI diagnosis. After a diagnosis, employers can meet with their employer and to develop a plan for the future.
When meeting with your employer, you can go over the restrictions that have been placed upon you. Your employer will inform you if they have work available for you and will provide you with more information about what the work would entail. Your employer must confirm that they understand your limitations and that they will provide all necessary accommodations.
If you cannot work at all, or if you are no longer able to earn the same wages that you earned before your injury, you may be eligible to receive permanent benefits. It’s best to talk to an attorney after receiving your diagnosis so that you have a better understanding of your rights and the options that are available to you.
The physician that gives you an MMI diagnosis will also give you a disability rating. If you are eligible to receive benefits, this rating will determine how much you receive. Benefits available vary based on the part of the body that is injured. For example, benefits for a knee injury are more substantial than benefits for an injury to a toe.
In some cases, a doctor may declare that you are totally disabled. This means that the physician believes that you are no longer capable of substantially gainful employment without serious restrictions. Patients that are totally disabled may be eligible to receive lifetime benefits.
Call Us Today to Understand Your Douglasville Maximum Medical Improvement
It can be frustrating and encouraging to be told by a doctor that you are no longer expected to improve, especially if your impairment means you are unable to go back to work. If you’ve been given an MMI diagnosis by your doctor, it’s likely that you have questions about what comes next.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition exclusively handles workers’ compensation cases, which means we’re uniquely qualified to give you the help that you need. We offer free case consultations and can go over your options with you. If you’re concerned about your diagnosis, and you need council that you can trust, call us at 770-796-0919 today.