According to statistics, every year in the United States, more than 2.7 million workers suffer from work-related injuries. Unfortunately, a big percentage of the victims experience what is known as a disabling injury. A disabling injury is an injury that prevents an individual from being able to perform their regular job duties.
When this occurs, it is one of the most frustrating experiences imaginable. Not only are you in pain, but you’re also worried about how you will pay your bills and support your family. The workers’ compensation system is designed to help people in this situation, but it can be confusing to navigate.
One of the most important concepts in workers’ compensation is maximum medical improvement or MMI. In this article, we’ll explain what MMI is and how it affects your workers’ compensation claim.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement is the point at which an injured worker’s condition has stabilized and is not expected to improve any further with treatment. Once an injured worker reaches MMI, they are typically given an impairment rating that determines how much compensation they will receive.
There are a few different ways to determine maximum medical improvement. They include:
- A physician’s opinion: A workers’ compensation doctor will evaluate the injured worker and give their opinion on whether or not the worker has reached maximum medical improvement.
- The “status quo doctrine”: This means that if an injured worker has been receiving treatment for their injury for a certain period with no improvement, they are considered to be at maximum medical improvement.
- The “odds ratio method”: This is a more technical way of determining maximum medical improvement that considers the injured worker’s age, gender, and other factors.
- The use of independent medical examinations: These are conducted by doctors who are not associated with the workers’ compensation system.
It’s important to note that maximum medical improvement is not the same thing as being fully recovered from an injury. An injured worker can still have some residual symptoms even after they’ve reached maximum medical improvement.
What Happens When an Injured Worker Reaches Maximum Medical Improvement?
Once an injured worker reaches maximum medical improvement, they are typically given an impairment rating. This number reflects the severity of the injury and how much it has impacted the worker’s ability to earn a living. The workers’ compensation system uses a variety of different methods to calculate impairment ratings.
The most common method is called the American Medical Association’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. This system uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rate an injury’s severity. A rating of 0 means that the injury has had no impact on the worker’s ability to earn a living, while a rating of 100 means that the worker is completely unable to work.
Another common method is called the workers’ compensation impairment rating schedule. This system uses a different scale, but it ultimately arrives at a similar conclusion.
The workers’ compensation system will also consider the injured worker’s age, education, and work history when determining their impairment rating. Once an injured worker has been given an impairment rating, they will receive a certain amount of money from the workers’ compensation system in parts or a lump sum.
It’s important to remember that each workers’ compensation claim is unique, so the amount of money an injured worker receives will vary depending on their situation such as:
- The severity of the injury
- The state where the injury occurred
- The workers’ compensation system in place
If you reject the settlement, you will need to provide evidence to the judge that you deserve more money than what the insurance company is offering.
This evidence can include testimony from your doctor, witnesses, and other experts. Once the judge makes a decision, you will receive a workers’ compensation award or be denied benefits.
Why Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim Important?
Workers’ compensation claims are important because they provide injured workers with the financial support they need to cover their living expenses and support their families. Without workers’ compensation, many injured workers would be unable to afford basic necessities like food and shelter.
In addition, workers’ compensation claims help ensure that employers are held accountable for providing a safe workplace. By requiring employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits, the workers’ compensation system incentivizes employers to take steps to prevent workplace injuries.
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer For a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
While the workers’ compensation system is designed to be fair to both employers and employees, it’s important to have a lawyer on your side. There are several reasons why you might need a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim, including:
- To help you navigate the workers’ compensation system: The workers’ compensation system can be complex, and it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. A lawyer can help you navigate the system and ensure you’re taking the right steps.
- To help you get the benefits you deserve: In some cases, injured workers are not given the full amount of benefits they’re entitled to. A lawyer can help you get the benefits you deserve.
- To help you appeal a denial: If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, a lawyer can help you appeal the decision.
If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to reach out to a workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you understand your rights and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
Contact David Aylor Law Offices
If you’ve been injured at work, the workers’ compensation attorneys at David Aylor Law Offices can help. We deeply understand the workers’ compensation system, and we know what it takes to get our clients the benefits they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and help you understand your options.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
Do all employers have to provide workers’ compensation benefits?
Most employers are required to provide these benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, some small businesses may be exempt from providing workers’ compensation benefits, and some employees (such as independent contractors) may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
How much time do I have to file a workers’ compensation claim?
This will depend on the state in which you live. In most states, you have between 30 and 90 days from the date of your injury to file a claim. However, it’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your injury so they can help you understand the deadlines that apply in your state.