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A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.

What Happens When You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement?

Law Blog

When you're being treated for a work-related injury, there comes a point where you will not experience further advancements in your condition. This is called the maximum medical improvement (MMI), and here are some things that will happen when you reach this level.

You May Be Required to Undergo an IME

Your doctor will determine when you have reached MMI, and he or she will issue a report to you or workers' comp detailing his or her diagnosis. If you have not healed 100 percent (meaning you have not regained full use of the affected body part), workers' comp will require you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME) by an approved doctor to confirm your healthcare provider's diagnosis.

You generally don't have anything to worry about if the doctor performing the IME reaches the same conclusion as your doctor. If the IME doctor thinks your condition can be improved with further therapy, however, then you will either have to follow the treatment plan the person recommends or provide additional evidence disputing the doctor's finding (e.g. reports from specialists). If you fail to do either option, workers' compensation will cut off your benefits and possibly close your case.

Thus, it's a good idea to consult with your workers compensation attorney for advice on how to proceed if the IME doctor is at odds with your primary care provider. 

You May Lose Some Benefits

A second thing that will happen is you will lose your temporary benefits after the MMI is confirmed. This is because workers' comp will move to settle the case so it can close the claim. What workers' comp offers will depend on the severity of your disability, whether you can return to work, how much you can work, and the laws in your state.

For instance, if you're unable to work in your career because of your injury, workers' comp may offer job rehabilitation where it will pay for you to receive training in another vocation and assistance with finding another job. In most cases, the insurance provider will offer a lump-sum settlement where you'll receive a one-time payment designed to cover your losses, damages, and any future medical treatment you may need.

Be aware that there may be a period of time when you're not receiving any money after losing your temporary benefits and before you receive your new benefits package or settlement. It's a good idea to prepare your finances so that you can stay afloat until the case is resolved.

For more information about this issue or help with your workers' comp case, contact an attorney.


7 January 2018