If you were hurt at work and file a claim under Virginia’s workers’ compensation system, you are probably aware that your monetary benefits will not last forever. Even after you are approved, you can only receive payments until you reach a certain level of recovery from your injuries. This point is called your “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), and it could spell the end of your workers’ comp benefits. For employees who have fully healed, MMI means you are ready to return to work and start earning an income again – in theory.
However, not all injured workers will reach the point of MMI and will continue to experience the effects of a lingering medical condition. The situation becomes quite complex for these individuals, so you should speak to a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney if you are in a similar position. You can also read on for some important information about MMI in workers’ comp claims.
Put simply, your MMI is the point where you have recovered as much as you possibly can from your medical condition – even if you have not reached the level of well-being you enjoyed before being injured. There is little chance you will achieve additional recovery and your ailment has stabilized, so you will not improve even with continued treatment. While there may be some change in the nature of your medical condition, these variations will not lead to an improvement or deterioration in your status.
How MMI Impacts Your Virginia Workers’ Comp Benefits: The question of MMI enters the picture in the context of one specific type of benefits you may be receiving — wage replacement. The amount you receive is intended to compensate you for the income you are not earning when you cannot work. When you reach MMI and are 100% recovered, it is presumed that you can return to work and get a paycheck. Therefore, MMI is a sort of measurement used by the workers’ comp insurance company to signify the end of these benefits. Note that only a physician can make the determination regarding whether you are at MMI.
In a situation in which you have long-term complications from work-related injuries, your MMI may indicate that you are not ready to go back to work. You will not improve any further and your wage replacement benefits will cease. As such, you may be eligible to receive permanent disability benefits, either for total or partial disability. In other words, reaching MMI may lead to the end of certain workers’ comp benefits, but it could mean the beginning of a different form of payment.
This overview of MMI may be useful for some of the basics, but application of the relevant concepts to your real-life situation is complicated. If you have questions about MMI or want additional information on how it affects your workers’ comp benefits, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a no-cost case evaluation. A Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer can provide details after reviewing your specific circumstances.