Maximum medical improvement is an important concept in Maryland workers’ compensation. Although you may not fully recovered from your work injury, you may still be found to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI). So what is MMI and what does it mean?
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
MMI essentially means that treatment for your work injury has come to an end. But how is that possible if you are not fully recovered? Your doctor may tell you are at MMI, but you do not feel completely better. What it means is that your medical condition from the work injury has stabilized. Although ongoing medical treatment going forward may maintain your current condition, it is not going to make you any better or improve your condition beyond what it is at the time you are found to be at MMI. Think of it as ‘it is what it is’.
Is MMI significant in my Maryland workers’ comp case?
Yes, it is. Reaching MMI is a milestone in your Maryland workers’ compensation case. It important because it ends your entitlement to temporary or prial disability benefits ends. In other words, those weekly wage loss benefits you receive will stop.
At this point, it will be determined what type of work you can do to return to the workforce. Your employer could have you return to work and offer work within your capabilities. If your employer cannot accommodate your ongoing restrictions/impairment then you would be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits to retrain you to return to the workforce.
MMI also impacts your medical treatment for your work injury. Once you reach MMI, only medical treatment that will be paid by the insurance carrier is treatment that you are required to have to maintain your current status/condition. Other medical treatment will not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Can MMI be contested?
MMI can be contested. This typically happens when an independent medical examination (IME) doctor find you to be at MMI. However, your doctor disagrees you are at MMI and believes additional medical treatment can improve, not maintain, but improve your medical condition. This can be refuted with significant medical evidence from your doctor outlining the treatment and how that treatment will improve your condition. This can be refuted by filing Issues with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission and requesting a hearing on the issue of MMI.
Does MMI entitle me to anything else?
Yes, it does. Another reason it is important is it may qualify you for a permanency award. Your injury may be persistent and you may still have ongoing symptoms. If so, you may qualify for a total or partial permanency award. Permanent total disability would be two-thirds of your average salary, not to exceed the state maximum. You could receive these benefits the rest of your life, More common are permanent partial disability which is based on a scheduling system designed by the Maryland General Assembly. This schedule defines the length of payments based on your body part that was injured.
The insurance carrier may voluntarily pay you a permanency award (settlement). In most cases though, the injured worker will undergo a permanency rating evaluation and undergo one form the IME as well. In these cases, the extent of impairment is disputed. Either a permanency settle is negotiated or there will be a hearing before the Commission for the Commission to decide your award.
If you’ve been injured at work, do not risk going it alone with an insurance company. They are looking out for their best interests, not yours. Call Mooney Law today for an absolutely free consultation. You can call us at 301-329-3630 or 443-712-7767. You can also email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our firm online to schedule a free consultation.