What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

Chances are you’ve only heard of MMI if you’ve suffered a workplace injury and need to file a claim. Here’s what you need to know to get the best benefits possible.

Recovering from a workplace injury is the number one priority for any employee. This includes filing for workers’ compensation to help cover the costs of any medical treatment, physical therapy and prescription medicine needed as part of the road to recovery.

But sadly, workers don’t always reach 100 percent recovery.

Not all injuries are easy to recover from, and there are several factors that can affect the process, such as age or prior work injuries. When a worker is partially recovered and then plateaus during treatment, the doctor may believe they’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

In a nutshell, MMI is when the worker has improved as much as possible from their workplace injury Law Firm in Atlanta: Gerber & Holder Workers' Compensation Attorneysbut may still suffer from pain and disability for the rest of their life.

MMI has different implications depending on which state the worker lives in.

Often, the doctor will continue treatment even after the injured worker has reached MMI in order to maintain the level of movement and cognitive function reached. They will be assigned a permanent partial disability rating, which is a percentage that represents the reduced function of your body. This percentage varies depending on the body part that was injured and the state in which the worker lives. It also helps calculate the amount of disability benefits the injured worker is entitled to.

An injured Georgia worker can receive weekly indemnity benefits.

In order to receive those benefits, a doctor must determine if the patient has reached MMI—not the employer, not the insurance company, not the physical therapist. Only the authorized treating physician may determine when a patient has reached MMI. Even if the injured worker feels like they have improved and are good to go, they can’t receive indemnity benefits without the doctor’s authorization.

Not all states offer the same benefits.

Once the authorized physician has reached this conclusion, this doesn’t affect an injured Georgia worker’s eligibility for temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits. In other states, some injured workers can only receive permanent partial disability benefits once they’ve reached MMI. Just because an employee has improved as much as possible doesn’t mean they’re still able to return to their job or even work at all. This is why Georgia offers better MMI benefits so those injured can still have quality lives.

When the injured worker has reached MMI, it might be time to settle the case.

Resolving the case often stems from the patient “plateauing” during their recovery process or if their treatment has wound down. This is when it’s time to speak with an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation attorney. Communication about the doctor’s treatment plan with an attorney is key in order for them to make an informed decision about when it’s time to resolve the claim.
Listening to your concerns is an important quality in a doctor as well as a lawyer.

Injured workers are often in a lot of pain and confusion during their recovery process. They need a professional lawyer who will answer their questions and concerns with respect and careful consideration of how MMI affects workers’ compensation. If you want to know if you qualify for disability benefits or other workers’ comp, please reach out to an experienced attorney in your area immediately.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Benjamin Gerber
Benjamin Gerber is a work injury lawyer with Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys.

Copyright Gerber & Holder Workers' Compensation Attorneys

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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