Maximum Medical Improvement- What Is It?

Maximum Medical Improvement, also known as MMI, is a concept vital to all workers compensation claims. MMI is when an injured employee reaches a state where their condition cannot be improved with any further medical care.  This can mean that the worker may have fully recovered but it can also mean that the healing process has plateaued. Once an employee or personal injury client has reached MMI, his or her condition is assessed by their caregiver and a degree of permanent or partial impairment is determined that will assist the injured worker in receiving the settlement he or she deserves.

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and the degree of permanent or partial impairment assigned by the caregiver are very important in a workers’ compensation case.  It allows the employee and their attorney to determine the employee’s potential future damages (medical costs for treatment, rehabilitation, and medications as well as lost wages). The legal standards for workers compensation settlements vary from state to state.

In North Carolina, the duration of benefits for partial disability is capped at the number of weeks an injured worker can receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.  If a doctor determines that the worker cannot return to work because of the injury, then an injured worker can start collecting temporary total disability from an employer after seven days.  The timeframe that the injured worker is allowed to collect is dependent on the injury.   When the injured worker has been release by the doctor to return to full duty work, temporary total disability benefits will stop. If worker is release with restrictions, then the employer must find suitable employment, if not worker is still entitled to TTD benefits.

Some adjusters for workers compensation insurance companies will try to settle prior to reaching MMI. It’s important that you contact an attorney who can help your determine what you’re entitled to once you reach MMI.

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