Maximum Medical Improvement In Florida Workers’ Compensation Cases
When a person files for workers’ compensation in Florida, they must be aware in all but the rarest cases, their benefits will not last forever. Workers’ compensation is designed to help support an injured worker while they focus on healing, so they can make a return to work. However, some injuries do not heal all the way – this is why a concept called maximum medical improvement (MMI) factors into a majority of workers’ compensation claims nowadays.
Not Necessarily Healed
Florida’s relevant statute defines maximum medical improvement as the point in a person’s healing process when no further recovery or lasting improvement can be expected “upon reasonable medical probability.” This is not necessarily the point at which a person is fully healed; rather, that point may not come, depending on the person’s individual situation. It is not uncommon for employees to sustain long-term injuries that do not heal completely, depending on the injury.
That said, reaching MMI without healing completely does not mean that a person is unable to work. In general, a physician will give a person a Permanent Impairment Rating (PIR), which must conform to a specific set of symptoms; it is not a subjective determination. A PIR essentially sets out how impaired a person is – but if a person is, for example, 10 percent impaired, it still means that there are many different jobs that person may be able to do.
The Process Can Be Confusing
While the process of receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Florida is fairly straightforward, it is important to understand that sometimes, an insurer may try to hasten the process of your reaching MMI, so that no further benefits need to be paid. One common way is for the insurer to require you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME), at which their chosen doctor may try to state that your injury is more progressed than it is, or that you have reached MMI when your treating physician does not agree.
Reaching MMI means that you are no longer entitled to lost wage benefits in Florida, but that does not mean that all benefits will stop. In theory, you may receive what are known as impairment income benefits (IIB). However, it can be difficult to ensure that you are receiving all you are entitled to, and the confusing and conflicting terminology can lead to feeling overwhelmed. An attorney can help to set things straight.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Being hurt at work can be scary, and seeking the benefits you deserve for what you have been through can be time-consuming and confusing. An Orlando workers’ compensation attorney from the Hornsby Law Group can help get your questions answered. Contact our office today at (407) 499-8887 for a free consultation.