If you’ve already received an MMI determination, your workers’ comp checks will most likely stop coming anytime soon. Unless you challenge the determination.
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) in workers comp is the point where an injured worker cannot anymore get better than they already are. MMI can also apply to a worker who has already fully recovered from a work-related injury. Depending on their disability, some workers may also get an MMI even if they are permanently impaired.
For instance, a worker who injured his back has finally finished all the prescribed medical treatments. If his back doesn’t hurt anymore and he can get back to work, then he will receive an MMI for making a full recovery. But even if his back still bothers him, if the medical technology currently available can’t improve his condition, he’ll still receive an MMI. Or if his injuries got him permanently disabled, he’ll receive an MMI with a provision for restrictions.
How MMI Affects Workers Comp
When you got injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Its main purpose is to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your living and medical expenses while recovering from your injuries. This is why when you reach MMI, your workers’ comp benefits will be terminated.
Upon reaching MMI, it is presumed that an injured worker won’t anymore need medical treatments. In some cases, reaching MMI means they are ready to get back to work. If the injured worker doesn’t need medical treatments and can already earn an income, that means they don’t need their workers comp benefits anymore.
If your MMI comes with a permanent restriction, you may get permanent disability benefits. The amount of which depends on your restrictions and whether you can still do any type of work.
How MMI Is Determined
In most states, workers who got injured on the job will get temporary workers comp benefits for up to 2 years. But an MMI determination can be obtained even after just a few months depending on the injury.
Obviously, your treating doctor is the only qualified person to determine if you’ve reached MMI. But their pronouncements will also depend on you. If you tell them it doesn’t hurt anymore or you stop getting treatments, they’ll take it that you’ve already recovered.
However, your employer or insurance company may also request an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This usually happens if they believe that you’ve already recovered but haven’t yet received an MMI determination. The IME will be conducted by another qualified physician. If this isn’t enough, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation may also conduct its own test.
If your treating doctor agrees with the IME results, your temporary workers’ comp benefits will automatically stop. If your doctor disagrees, you can challenge your MMI determination.
Challenging Your MMI Determination
It’s not uncommon for employers or insurance companies and injured workers to disagree on an MMI determination. Since most states require treating doctors to be accredited by your employer, the MMI determination won’t usually be in your favor.
If you feel like the MMI determination is unfair, you can take your case before a workers’ compensation judge. This process isn’t only lengthy, it can also be very confusing if you’re not familiar with the law. This is where we can help. We’ve already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida fight for the benefits they rightfully deserve. We can help you fight for yours too. Call us now for a free consultation.
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Victor Malca Law has over 25 years of litigation experience, we are the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.