What Happens After Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum medical improvement may mean the end of workers’ compensation benefits, but not always. When you sustain a workplace-related injury, your employer is mandated to cover the cost of treatment for your wound. Workers’ compensation usually covers this. In some cases, it also covers all other expenses that arise from your injury.

In a workplace-related injury case, you can file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Your employer’s insurance carriers will set out to compensate you for the injuries. They will discuss several things that will determine what sort of compensation you will receive. One of these is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).

MMI is not just a buzzword; it is a crucial factor determining what your compensation benefits will look like in the future.  This article explores what MMI is and how it can affect your workers’ compensation claims. To learn more, contact a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer today.

What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

Maximum Medical Improvement is a stage where further improvement of a medical condition is impossible. This does not mean that you have entirely healed or improved; it means that you cannot improve further. Doctors need to have tried all possible treatments before they certify a patient to have attained MMI.

When a patient reaches MMI, their doctor gives them a disability rating. The physician would also write a note to the patient’s attorney stating their disability rating. They will also mention to the employers what tasks the patient can do and cannot do. For example, in some cases, the patient cannot return to work even after reaching MMI.

The doctor will also mention this to the employer in such cases. It is always a good idea to get workers’ compensation attorneys in Charlotte, NC, involved if discussions on MMI are underway.

Who Determines MMI?

A doctor will determine if you have reached maximum medical improvement. Then, your company’s insurance company will request a medical examination to confirm if you have reached MMI. After they do this, they will file a report and send you copies. Your employer, your doctor will also get copies of this report.

If your doctor agrees that you have reached MMI, the insurance carrier can terminate your temporary workers’ compensation. They will do this either on the date of the physical exam to confirm MMI or on your doctor’s approval. If your doctor does not agree, they will forward the claim to the North Carolina Industrial Commission or a workers’ comp judge. The judge will then resolve the case by holding a hearing to determine if you have reached MMI or not.

Doctors should ensure that the patient has undergone all possible and legal treatments before concluding that they have reached MMI. This is because most compensation will end after you have reached MMI. As such, you must be sure that you are making the right decision. If you don’t think you have reached MMI and the insurance carriers or your treating physician states otherwise, you should contact a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney.

What Benefits Are You Eligible for After Reaching MMI?

Not all types of compensation for injuries cease when you reach MMI. You are eligible for the following benefits even after reaching MMI:

  • Compensation for Lost Wages

Perhaps your injury caused you to lose the ability to work at the capacity you used before the incident. In this case, you may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages after reaching MMI. Also, if you cannot find a job with your current capabilities, you may qualify for non-working wage loss compensation.

  • Disability Benefits

When your injuries cause you to have a permanent total disability, you may be eligible for endless benefits. This is especially so when your injuries cause you never to be able to return to work. You can also receive compensation for the percentage of permanent partial disability. This is based on how much partial disability the injury caused.

  • Rehabilitation Costs

Sometimes, you can get access to rehabilitation programs to help you improve your condition and get back to work. According to the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act § 9732.2, you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation even after reaching MMI.

  • Lump-Sum Settlement

After reaching MMI, the insurance carrier may offer you a lump sum settlement. If you accept this, you might have to sign a release from any future liability. This means that even if anything else happens to you due to the injury, you cannot make further claims from them. You should speak to a Charlotte workers’ comp attorney before you accept a  lump sum settlement.

Contact a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today!

If you or any of your loved ones have sustained a workplace injury, you should contact a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer today. Our experienced attorneys will ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.