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What should I know about maximum medical improvement in my case?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

When Ohio workers have suffered an on the job injury or condition and have been approved for workers’ compensation benefits, it does not mean the case is over. Often, workers are expected to receive treatment until their issues have been resolved and return to duty.

However, in some cases, there is a ceiling for the level of improvement they experience. This is called maximum medical improvement (MMI) and is a fundamental part of a case. Workers should be aware of what it means and how it might impact them.

Understanding maximum medical improvement

If the worker has achieved their highest level of functionality, they will be categorized as achieving MMI. By law, once this determination is made and they are not expected to get any better, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) can end their temporary total workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if a warehouse worker suffered a back injury and after they have been treated and gone through rehabilitative care, it is not expected to get any better, they may be labeled as reaching MMI.

Once this happens, their temporary total compensation might stop. They can still receive medical treatment to stay in their current condition. If the injuries worsen, they can again get temporary total compensation. After an independent medical examination that states the worker has reached MMI, the treating physician and anyone else involved with the case including the worker and their representative will receive a copy of it.

The treating physician might not agree and the industrial commission will be tasked with deciding on the matter. If the temporary total payments stop, the worker can still get rehabilitative care, receive wage loss if they go back to work with a different job or lower workload, a percentage of permanent disability, a lump sum or permanent total disability.

For all workers’ compensation concerns, having professional help is key

Assessments on a person’s medical condition and recovery are not always clear. This might lead to disputes and problems with the workers’ compensation benefits. Just as it is important to have help when trying to get approved for workers’ compensation benefits, it is also key to have assistance when there is a gap between how the worker feels and what the medical prognosis is. Seeking help and representation from experienced professionals can be crucial to a case and reaching a fair outcome.