What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
If you have been injured at work in Florida, you are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits, assuming that your employer is required to carry it. However, there is a time frame that will be placed upon your ability to receive those benefits – generally, you are entitled to receive lost wages and medical bills until you have reached what the law calls maximum medical improvement (MMI). You may still be entitled to benefits after MMI, but not always, and the law can be very complex to try and navigate on your own.
Improvement Can “No Longer Be Reasonably Anticipated”
Maximum medical improvement is defined as happening on the date after which further improvement – or recovery, in the case of a disease – can “no longer be reasonably anticipated,” at least not based on reasonable medical probability (sometimes, unexpected improvement does happen). MMI has a very specific meaning in Florida law. It does not mean that you have fully healed, or that you are not entitled to further treatment or accommodation if it might be necessary. It simply means that there are no more standard treatments or potential cures that medical science thinks will improve your condition.
MMI does not mean that your benefits will immediately cease without any warning. What it does mean, however, is that your case will be reevaluated, and your injury assessed as to whether or not it will cause you permanent issues. Once your doctor holds that you have reached MMI, it does mean that your eligibility for lost wage benefits is over, but not for medical bill coverage or certain other benefits. Generally, you will be assessed to see if you are permanently and totally disabled, and if not, whether you qualify for what is called an impairment rating.
What Is My Impairment Rating?
If you reach MMI and you are still hampered by your injury – but not permanently disabled – you will be assessed to determine whether or not you qualify for permanent impairment benefits. If you do, you will receive two weeks of those benefits for every point of impairment. However, in many cases, this is simply not enough to help an injured employee get back on their feet, especially if they are impaired enough to not be able to do the job they formerly did. Sometimes, MMI is used as a weapon of sorts, so that employers can stop paying benefits to an injured employee.
If you are ruled to be at MMI despite still encountering serious issues resulting from your injury, you have the right to appeal that finding, though many employers fail to advise their employees that this is the case. MMI is meant to serve as notice that your recovery has plateaued, not ceased, and if you are able to establish that you still require treatment, you may begin to receive benefits again. Either way, contacting an attorney to help guide you through the workers compensation process is a good idea.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Every injured person wants to recover, but in many cases, a finding of MMI can actually be a problem for someone who has been hurt on the job. If you are in this situation, contacting an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer at the Hornsby Law Group may make all the difference in ensuring you receive the benefits you are owed. Contact our office today for a free consultation.