After an injury on the job, a worker rehabilitates to the point of maximum medical improvement. MMI refers to when a person’s condition stabilizes and cannot improve with further treatment.
In workers’ compensation cases, MMI can affect an injured employee’s eligibility for benefits.
Why is workers’ comp necessary?
Workers report millions of injuries yearly, especially in trade, manufacturing and health care jobs. Workers’ comp is an insurance that employers purchase to cover employees who suffer harm on the job. Serious injuries can involve protracted legal battles as a worker seeks to gain full support for covering lost wages and medical bills.
Severe accidents can result in lifelong conditions and expenses. Since adjusters have the insurer’s bottom line in mind first, the initial offer for compensation may be low in the eyes of the injured worker.
How does MMI affect benefits?
An injured worker must receive a comprehensive medical evaluation and treatment from a licensed medical professional. The doctor determines MMI and considers factors such as the worker’s age, health history and type of injury. The physician provides a disability rating and sets work restrictions that designate what tasks the patient can do. The insurance company may request a second opinion.
Once a person reaches MMI, the insurance adjuster calculates benefits by considering the extent of the injuries and might request the worker to sign a release. In many cases, a hurt worker receives benefits until reaching MMI and returning to work. In other situations, the worker may receive benefits for a longer period if unable to return to the previous job.
Since MMI may not entail a full recovery, an injured employee could require continual assistance. Injuries might become worse, and costs can accumulate. An injured worker often benefits from waiting until reaching MMI before settling and releasing claims.