Why Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) Matters in Your AZ Work Injury Claim
MMI refers to the point in your treatment where your treating physician feels your injuries have stabilized. It’s only after you’ve achieved MMI that you can begin to discuss what settlement options you have available.
Understanding MMIFirst, you shouldn’t confuse MMI with being fully recovered from your injuries. Rather, MMI is simply the point where your injuries have healed enough that you’re likely to not experience any more improvement.
In layman’s terms, MMI refers to the point where pushing your body through more treatments will likely not improve your condition. This typically includes participating in physical therapy, having surgery and any other possible treatment options.
A declaration of MMI does not always mean that a victim has fully recovered from the injuries sustained. In fact, MMI generally means a point has been reached in which no further improvement is likely.
Medically speaking, MMI is another way to say that additional treatment is not going to make a difference in terms of functional benefit.
This is not a declaration that should be made unless a physician has exhausted other treatment possibilities, including physical therapy, surgery or other options.
MMI and workers’ compRegardless of the severity of your injury, your workers’ comp case doesn’t truly begin until you’ve achieved MMI. Once you’ve reached the point where your injury will not improve, your employer’s insurance company can calculate a dollar value that matches the monetary value of your sustained injury. Moreover, until you’ve reached MMI, insurance companies shouldn’t even entertain settlement amounts since it isn’t possible to get an accurate figure without knowing your MMI status.
MMI is also a crucial factor in determining whether it will be possible for you to perform the duties your job requires after healing from your injury. This means that if you reach a settlement with an insurance company before achieving MMI, you could lose out on compensation for long- and short-term disability, as well as lost earning capacity.
After you’ve accepted a settlement, you’re also likely to miss out on further workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you settle with your employer’s insurance company and then your treating physician determines that you would benefit from long-term physical therapy, your workers’ comp will not cover the cost of your PT.
How will I know I’ve achieved MMI?The only person who can make an MMI determination is your treating physician, such as a medical or osteopathic doctor. That said, don’t be surprised if your employer’s insurance company requires you to be assessed through an independent medical examination (IME). This is done to ensure that your physician’s findings are correct and to protect the carrier from fraudulent claims.
You’ve achieved MMI, now what?In most cases, once you’ve achieved MMI, your employer is no longer responsible for providing you with medical treatment after an injury. Therefore, it’s important to hold off on reaching a settlement until you’ve been cleared for MMI. There are instances where even if you’ve done everything right, you could still miss out on compensation from a workplace injury. This emphasizes the importance of hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help fight your case.
Nobody wants to think about the possibility of being injured while at work. To ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve, your first step after informing your employer of your injury and seeking medical attention is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.