In the state of Georgia, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits from your employer while you are recovering from an injury that you sustained at work. Once your doctor has found that you have recovered sufficiently from the injury, you will be required to return to work and your benefits will cease. So, even if you have received your Sandy Springs Maximum Medical Improvement report, still you can have compensation.
But what happens if you don’t agree that you are ready to work or if you will never recover fully from the injury that you sustained? Our Sandy Springs workers’ compensation lawyers can help you.
The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition will provide you with legal advice and representation to ensure that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and that you are able to fulfill your duties at work.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
Maximum medical improvement is when you have recovered from your injury to the point where further recovery, regardless of medical treatments, is unlikely or not possible. In other words, no amount of medical, pharmaceutical, or other types of treatment is likely to have any effect on improving your current physical condition.
In some cases, MMI will be reached even though the injury has not healed or you have not returned to your former physical condition. This is where the injury results in a partial or full permanent disability. For example, if you lost a finger in a work-related accident, MMI will probably be when the wound has fully healed as it is impossible for you to regrow a new finger.
Who Determines Maximum Medical Improvement in Sandy Springs, GA?
The doctor or physician treating your injury is responsible for deciding when you have achieved MMI. Once the doctor has decided that you have reached MMI, he/she will then inform you, your employer and/or their insurance carrier whether you can return to work in your full, former capacity, fulfilling different duties, or whether you will not be able to return to work at all.
If you disagree with the decision from your doctor, you have the right to seek a second opinion from another doctor on the panel of physicians that was provided to you by your employer when you were first injured. The panel of physicians is a list of doctors who are authorized to provide treatment for work-related injuries by your employer’s insurance carrier.
You can also request an independent medical evaluation from the State Board of Workers’ Compensation in Georgia if you don’t agree with the diagnosis and don’t want to see another doctor on the panel of physicians.
Contact us today if you have received an MMI diagnosis but do not feel that you have recovered to the maximum or are not ready to return to work.
Does Medical Treatment Continue After an MMI Diagnosis?
An MMI diagnosis does not necessarily mean that you no longer require medical treatment. Your employer may still be required to cover the costs of your ongoing medical care and to pay you income benefits while you are unable to work. If you return to work on “light duties” or in a different capacity where you earn less than you did when you were injured, your employer may need to pay you partial income benefits.
If you are unable to return to work at all in your former capacity, your employer is required to provide you with occupational therapy to teach you the skills that you need to work in a different capacity either within their organization or for a different employer. Occupational therapy may also be required to relearn skills or how to operate with a prosthesis, etc. Your employer will be required to cover the cost of your medical treatment and income benefits until you are able to earn the same or more than you did at the time when you were injured.
If your employer or their insurance carrier refuses to cover the cost of medical care or pay income benefits after you have achieved MMI, call our Sandy Springs workers’ compensation lawyers for assistance.
What If You Can’t Return to Work or Work in the Same Capacity After an MMI Diagnosis?
In the event that you are unable to return to work after an MMI diagnosis, you may continue to receive benefits depending on the nature and extent of the injury you sustained. Your doctor will give you a disability rating that will decide what benefits you will receive in the future as follows:
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD)
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD)
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD)
- Permanent total disability benefits (PTD)
Your employers’ insurer may then offer you a settlement to pay the benefits in a lump sum. Although it can be tempting to agree to the settlement, it may not always be to your advantage. Should you require additional medical care in the future or medical costs rise, then your settlement may be insufficient to cover your medical costs. If there is a change in your employment status or earning capability as a result of the injury, your income benefits may no longer be sufficient.
If your employer denies you medical care or benefits, if you are unable to work in the same capacity, or if you earn less than you did before you were injured, you need to contact a lawyer urgently. It is also extremely important to get legal advice before accepting a settlement from your employers’ insurance carrier.
It is more than likely that the insurer will attempt to settle for less than your workers’ compensation claim is worth. Our Sandy Springs workers’ comp lawyers will evaluate the settlement and ensure that you are receiving sufficient benefits to cover your needs well into the future.
Get Help With Your Sandy Springs Maximum Medical Improvement Case
Maximum medical improvement is not the same as recovering fully from your injury. An MMI diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ready to return to work, that you no longer require medical care, and that your workers’ compensation benefits should suddenly cease.
If you have received a Sandy Springs maximum medical improvement diagnosis, contact the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Coalition as soon as possible to find out what this means in your specific case and what steps you should take to ensure that you receive the benefits that are legally owed to you.