If the doctor that’s been treating you for your work-related injury has told you that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, it’s likely that you have a number of questions. You may be wondering what MMI and what sort of impact this will have on the resolution of your claim.
A McDonough Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) diagnosis can be disruptive to an employee that’s recovering from an injury. Not only can it change what sort of treatment a patient is eligible to receive, but it also means that a patient won’t be able to receive temporary disability benefits anymore.
These questions can be difficult to answer, which is why you shouldn’t try to figure everything out on your own. Our McDonough workers’ compensation lawyers can go over your case, tell you more about the impact that MMI will have on you, and can help you to secure additional treatment and benefits.
Call the Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Coalition at 770-796-0919 for a free case review.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
After an employee is injured, they will receive treatment for their injuries. Eventually, however, the employee may reach a point where improvement in their condition is no longer possible. This is referred to as Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Achieving MMI doesn’t always mean that a patient has completely recovered from their injuries. In fact, many patients are left with lasting impairments. It’s normal for patients to try a range of treatments for their injury before an MMI diagnosis.
Workers are no longer eligible to receive temporary benefits after reaching MMI in McDonough, Georgia. However, if a worker has lasting impairments, they could be able to collect permanent benefits. It’s best to talk to an experienced lawyer after MMI so that you can determine what your next should be.
Who Determines When You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement in McDonough?
MMI will be determined by the physician overseeing the employees. In some cases, however, that diagnosis could be disputed by the insurance provider of the employer. If this happens, the insurance company may request that the employee receive an independent medical examination.
During the examination, the employee will be examined by a new doctor. That doctor may confirm the original MMI diagnosis, or they may dispute it. The doctor will write a report on the patient and will submit copies to the patient, the patient’s employer, the insurance company, and the physician that has been overseeing the patient’s care.
If a patient’s physician and the independent medical examiner disagree about the patient’s MMI status, the case will be referred to a workers’ compensation judge. The judge will hear the case and will decide if the patient has reached MMI.
Patients also have the right to dispute an MMI diagnosis. If you’ve been told that you’ve reached MMI, and you still want to explore additional types of treatment, you’ll want to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer that can inform you of your rights and help you to get a second opinion.
Does Medical Treatment Continue After an MMI Diagnosis?
Since patients are no longer expected to recover or improve after reaching MMI, many treatments will no longer be covered after receiving a diagnosis. However, employees are still entitled to receive treatment that will help them to manage their injury, such as treatment that helps the patient manage their pain.
In some cases, a patient may see a decline in their condition after MMI. In a scenario like this, a patient will need to be re-evaluated by a doctor to see if these symptoms are related to the injury. In some cases, a doctor may recommend that the patient receives additional treatment.
What If You Can’t Return to Work and Perform the Same After MMI?
If there are no disputes about your MMI, you may be able to begin collecting permanent disability benefits. The doctor that diagnosed you with MMI will identify the impairments that you’ve experiencing and will assign you with an impairment rating.
In spite of the use of the word “permanent,” most permanent disability benefits are only available for a limited period of time. In Georgia, the maximum number of weeks you can collect benefits varies based on the body type was injured. Upper extremity injuries are eligible for up to 225 weeks of compensation, while the maximum for an injury to the ring finger is 30 weeks.
Patients will not be able to collect benefits for the maximum period of time unless the physician treating them gives them a 100% impairment rating. If a worker has suffered a catastrophic injury that has left them permanently unable to work, it may be possible for them to receive benefits on a permanent basis.
While the disruptions that can be caused by an MMI diagnosis can be upsetting to a patient, it can also provide opportunities. After MMI has been reached, it may be possible to settle a workers’ compensation claim. An injury can make it difficult to predict what will happen in the future, but MMI can give a patient some clarity about what lies ahead.
Call Us to Understand Your McDonough Maximum Medical Improvement
Most patients want to make a full recovery after an injury. Sadly, that isn’t always possible. In some cases, a patient may reach a point where their condition will not improve with further treatment. Reaching MMI may mean a worker is no longer able to collect temporary benefits or continue their medical treatment, which can make this diagnosis even more frustrating.
You may be eligible for benefits even if you’ve reached MMI. Although temporary benefits will end, you may be able to collect permanent benefits. You may also be eligible to receive rehabilitation costs or even a lump sum settlement.
A workplace injury can be incredibly disruptive to your life, and MMI can send you even further into disarray. Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition in McDonough, GA can help you to understand your MMI diagnosis. If you’re eligible for further benefits or treatment, we’ll help you secure them as quickly as possible. Call us at 770-796-0919 to speak to an experienced and dedicated lawyer.