Employers do their best to ensure the workplace is safe for everyone but workplace accidents and injuries are inevitable. Any physical harm to an employee can affect their ability to work and cost them a fortune while catering for treatment. Reaching maximum medical improvement means your condition won’t improve anymore.
What if you aren’t fully healed after reaching maximum medical improvement? What if you disagree with an MMI diagnosis? Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Clearwater, Florida can help you get the money you deserve. Call 954-833-5226 for a free case review.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
Maximum Medical Improvement is a point during a patient’s treatment where a doctor determines that the individual has reached their fullest recovery potential. In other words, it’s a point at which continued treatment or medication doesn’t change the patient’s health condition.
So, does Maximum Medical Improvement suggest that a patient is fully recovered? No, reaching MMI isn’t proof that someone is completely healed. Instead, it means there’s no need to continue trying as it could be a waste of resources or, worse, lead to more complications.
After examining them and trying all possible treatments without a breakthrough, a doctor designates MMI for a patient. The doctor also gives the patient a disability rating after they have reached MMI. A written statement is issued to the patient’s attorney with the information about the rating.
What Does MMI Mean for Your Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Case?
Maximum Medical Improvement is important in your Clearwater workers’ compensation case. When an individual has MMI status, the doctor should specify the tasks they can manage and clarify whether they can fully return to work. Such limitations are referred to as “work restrictions.”
Maximum medical improvement may put an individual in a difficult situation. It may limit the type and amount of work they can do or prevent them from working.
For instance, if an individual suffers a back injury that doesn’t allow them to stand for quite a long time, the employer may assign new roles to the individual to ensure they’re not straining. What if there aren’t any other suitable positions for the injured worker? The only choice is to leave work.
If a person has to stop working because of an injury they sustained, then there should be fair compensation. The victim may choose between getting a lump sum payment or receiving regular benefits to cater for medical care and other financial requirements.
Who Determines When the Employee Has Achieved Maximum Medical Improvement?
A qualified doctor determines whether an employee in Clearwater, Florida has achieved maximum medical improvement. Doctors use the Medical Disability Advisor to know when an individual has attained full recovery and decide whether they can resume work.
Once the health expert concludes that the victim has reached maximum improvement, the specialist examines whether there’s functional or physical damage. If the injury limits the person’s abilities, the doctor gives an impairment rating.
Other employers may use an independent medical examiner to determine whether an employee has reached MMI status. If the medical examiner determines that the injury can’t heal any further, then this could mean the end of disability benefits for the employee. But they could be eligible for Impairment Income Benefits (IIBs).
Does Medical Treatment Continue After an MMI Diagnosis?
It can be easy to assume that a patient will not need medical attention when a health expert determines that they have attained the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) status. After all, the diagnosis means an individual has reached a plateau in recovery, making further progress unlikely. Reaching MMI doesn’t mean a patient should stop receiving medical treatment entirely.
Most patients still need medical treatment after being diagnosed with MMI. Such is vital in managing symptoms. A good example is a patient with a spinal cord injury. If the patient is diagnosed with MMI, they may still require physical therapy and rehabilitation to prevent more complications and maintain their mobility level.
Patients may also need ongoing treatment to manage complications from various injuries or illnesses. For instance, a patient who has undergone surgery may need care to prevent infections and allow healing. On the other hand, a person who has been through chemotherapy may require treatment and monitoring to manage the side effects of the treatment.
It is also worth noting that MMI doesn’t mean that a patient is safe from further complications. In fact, anyone with a chronic illness is likely to develop complications like kidney disease and heart disease, among others. Similarly, a patient who has just recovered from trauma could face the same experience in the future.
What Happens If You Cannot Return to Work and Perform at the Same Level After Your MMI Diagnosis?
Everyone has their own needs, so it can be overwhelming when one cannot return to work and perform at the same level as before. Some challenges people in such situations face include psychological problems and financial constraints.
The good thing, though, is that workers’ compensation benefits can help when an individual can’t resume work and perform as they would in perfect health. People injured at their places of work and unable to return to work or perform well in their jobs may be eligible for workers’ compensation. It can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other bills related to the injury.
The most important thing is to work with an expert attorney who can help you explore all available options for compensation and financial support. An attorney understands all rights and options available for an employee, so they can help navigate the complex process of receiving fair compensation.
Besides compensation and financial help, an individual needs much more support to adjust to the new reality of MMI status. The Division of Workers’ Compensation in Florida has vocational rehabilitation programs to help people who can’t do the same job after a work-related injury.
The key to dealing with this new reality is to be open to new possibilities and exercise patience while adjusting to the unique situation.
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today!
After being treated for a work-related injury, there’s a point when the doctor determines you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fully recovered. It just means that continued treatment won’t change your condition significantly.
If your condition limits what job tasks you can do after MMI, you may be eligible for impairment income benefits. The most important thing is to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Clearwater, Florida who can help navigate the complex process.