The worker's compensation process is very exact and there are certain stages you need to move through as you receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. At some point, you will reach a stage that is known as "Maximum Medical Improvement" (MMI). It's important to understand what is considered MMI so you can know what to expect.
MMI is the point at which your treating physician no longer expects your health to improve. This is a controversial requirement that some lawmakers have sought to change. The rules regarding MMI can vary from state-to-state and change frequently. Therefore, you will want to speak with a workers' compensation lawyer well before you reach the stage of MMI.
The MMI will determine how much you will be compensated and will also determine whether the workers' compensation insurance provider chooses to settle with you. To determine the MMI, you may need to participate in several exams and you must fill out a lot of paperwork to meet the requirements.
Reaching the MMI does not mean that you are no longer injured or disabled. This is simply a state where the doctor no longer believes that you will continue improving. For example, your hand might be injured and you may be unable to use it. Then, as time progresses, you regain some functionality in your hand until you are able to use it at 50% of its previous capacity. Then, your doctor may believe that your hand will not heal any further and you will permanently have only 50% of the capacity of your hand.
Total or Partial Bodily Impairment
Your total or partial bodily impairment will be determined at this stage. You may receive a settlement which will be based on specific state laws regarding the type of disability you have suffered, the extent to where you are suffering the disability, and whether you re able to return to work. For example, if your doctor determines that you have lost 50% of the capacity of your hand, you will receive a different level of compensation than if you lost 90% of the capacity of your hand.
Because the degree to which you are injured determines how much you will be compensated, it makes economic sense to hire a workers' compensation lawyer, such as those found at Neifert Byrne & Ozga. While your lawyer will receive a percentage of your earnings, workers' compensation claimants statistically receive more in compensation after hiring a lawyer.