What is MMI?
Employees Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
The workers’ compensation benefits that you ultimately receive through your employer’s workers’ comp plan will be significantly affected by when you reach your maximum medical improvement or MMI. A patient has reached their MMI when the treating physicians believe that no amount or type of continued care will help them heal more from their injuries than they already have. Once MMI is reached, the patient’s care will shift from curative procedures to medical treatments designed to make life more comfortable, like routine physical therapy and prescription medications.
MMI is so important in a workers’ compensation case because it is a defining point in terms of what the injured employee will be able to do for work in the future. If you reach your MMI and you still experience sharp pain when standing for an extended period, for example, then you will need sedentary work with minimal physical exertion. Your employer and the insurance company need to be ready to accommodate and compensate you based on your post-MMI health.
Once you reach your MMI, the following determinations and more must be made:
- By your employer: You cannot be expected to continue a job position that would exacerbate your injuries or disabilities that appear to be permanent now that you have reached your MMI. Your employer will need to find a role for you that is safe for your health conditions but also pays the same or more than what you earned pre-injury. If they cannot, then your workers’ compensation benefits might be expanded to include vocational retraining that helps you start a new career or seek an advanced educational degree or certification.
- By the insurer: Upon reaching MMI, the insurer handling your case will have to determine if you qualify for extended wage replacement benefits, like permanent total or partial disability pay. Additionally, and importantly, the insurer will likely have the option to pay for fewer medical treatments once you reach MMI because treatments shift from curative to palliative. Secondary medical services are designed to help you maintain MMI, and the insurer will not be compelled to pay for experimental or optional treatments that could feasibly improve your health.
Free Consultations are Available
MMI is not necessarily a straightforward concept, which is unfortunate because it can dramatically affect your workers’ compensation claim and benefits. If you have questions about MMI and what it might mean for your case, then we encourage you to reach out to Alvandi Law Group, P.C. in Orange County. Using our decades of collective legal experience with a focus on workers’ comp cases, we can help answer all of your questions, as well as manage your claim.
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