Maximum Medical Improvement In Workers’ Compensation Cases
When a person is injured on the job, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, what many people do not understand is that those benefits may not continue all the way until they are 100 percent. Florida workers’ compensation law recognizes a status called maximum medical improvement (MMI), and once an injured worker gets to that point, their benefits may cease. The important thing to keep in mind is that you have the right to contest exactly what constitutes maximum medical improvement, if you disagree with the ruling.
What Is MMI?
Maximum medical improvement is defined as the point when you are deemed to have healed as much as possible, that no treatment would do any more good in improving the injury. It does not mean that you are back to the same level of health that you had before the accident, merely that no further medical treatment would improve your injury. A MMI determination can be extremely subjective, and also controversial, because very often, an insurer or employer will try to eliminate your benefits once MMI has been reached.
While you are out on temporary disability from work, you are entitled to temporary benefits, in the maximum amount of 66 ⅔ percent of your average weekly wage. Your insurer has a vested interest in stopping those benefits as soon as legally possible, and in some cases, will exaggerate or mislead you about whether or not you have reached that status. Even if they do not, however, your workers’ compensation checks will stop, which can frighten many people. Still, if it is not possible to heal your injury back to the same level it was before your accident, you are entitled to receive potential assistance.
Impairment Ratings & Benefits
When you reach MMI, it may be frightening to hear that your workers’ compensation checks will stop. However, all is not lost – the physician who certifies you have reached MMI must, by law, assign you an impairment rating. An impairment rating confers a status on you that grants you benefits for a set period of time, based on your injuries and the likelihood of you being able to find work after this period of disability. It is a percentage rating – for example, you might be assigned a 40 percent impairment rating. This rating directly affects how much you will receive and for how long.
Impairment ratings are determined by using the 1996 Florida Uniform Permanent Impairment Rating Guides, but just because a schedule exists does not mean that a rating is not subject to change. It is not uncommon for someone to be assigned an incorrect rating, and if this happens, you need an experienced attorney on your side who can work with your doctor to change things. While even impairment benefits do not last forever, you are entitled to receive the benefits to which you are entitled.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
The workers’ compensation system in Florida is quite complex at times, and having a dedicated legal professional on your side to navigate it can be a great help. The Orlando workers’ compensation attorneys at the Hornsby Law Group are ready and willing to try and assist you with your case. Call us today for a free consultation.