Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and Workers’ Compensation

OSHA | December 8, 2021

Anytime a person sustains a workplace injury, they should be able to receive workers’ compensation coverage. However, those who have sustained a workplace injury are going to hear the term “maximum medical improvement,” but they may not completely understand what this means. Here, our Chicago workers’ comp lawyers want to discuss MMI and how this plays a role in your work injury claim.

Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

With any type of injury, we encourage individuals to never settle until after they know that all medical treatment is completed. When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, the period at which an individual is unlikely to need further medical treatment is called maximum medical improvement MMI.

The only person who can determine whether or not an individual has reached maximum medical improvement is a doctor. If a doctor believes that no further improvement in a person’s medical condition is possible, then MMI has been reached. This has implications when it comes to workers’ compensation.

In some cases, a person who reaches MMI will have made a full recovery and be able to return to work. However, MMI does not necessarily mean that a person has recovered or been made whole. As you can see from the definition, this simply means the point where further medical treatment will not improve the injury victim’s condition. If a person has not fully recovered, but they have reached maximum medical improvement, a doctor will provide a disability rating and provide the employee with a list of work restrictions and capabilities.

This information will tell the injured employee what tasks they can perform and which ones they cannot perform. If their condition is still serious, they may not be able to return to work at all.

What if You Discontinue Care?

One of the worst things that an individual can do after sustaining a workplace injury is discontinuing their care before their doctor says they have reached a maximum medical improvement. If an individual decides to cease treatment before their doctor says they have reached MMI, it is very likely that the insurance carrier will consider the workers’ comp claim closed. They will no longer pay any medical bills related to the injury, nor will they pay any lost wages sustained as a result of the injury.

You are well within your rights to discontinue medical care at any time, but you need to understand how this can affect your overall workers’ compensation claim.

Work With a Lawyer if You Disagree

If you disagree with the maximum medical improvement finding from your doctor, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A finding of MMI can certainly affect the overall outcome of your claim, and you need to have an advocate by your side who can ensure that you recover all of the compensation you are entitled to.

An attorney can get involved, work with trusted medical and financial experts, and help make sure that all of your total expenses are properly calculated. A lawyer will negotiate vigorously with aggressive workers’ compensation insurance carriers to help you through this.