What are Maximum Medical Improvement Benefits?
What are maximum medical improvement benefits? If you’ve been injured on the job or suffered a job-related disease, hopefully you’ll fully recover and suffer no lasting effects. For many injured workers, that happy ending won’t occur and they will suffer a permanent disability that will either totally or partially impact them for the rest of their lives. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a term used for when a person’s condition isn’t expected to improve, no matter how much more treatment or therapy he or she receives.
Workers’ compensation covers claims for personal injury or accidental death arising out of and in the course of employment. There are limited benefits to injured workers that include …
- Payment of medical treatment
- Compensation for lost wages
- Compensation for the loss or loss of use of parts of the body.
If the employee is temporarily unable to work due to the injury, he or she is considered disabled and may receive limited wage-replacement compensation, called temporary total disability, or TTD.
What are maximum medical improvement benefits and when can I qualify for them?
When the injury heals to the point that it will likely get no better, the person reaches MMI. The employee can now be medically examined to determine whether there is any permanent impairment (a permanent loss of a body part or function). If so, the employee will be compensated according to a statutory schedule.
Indiana workers’ compensation law covers three types of disability:
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
- Permanent and Total Disability (PTD).
TTD is paid for the time an employee is completely unable to perform his or her regular work because of a work-related injury or illness. TPD is paid when the employee is partially unable to work for the employer. In both of these cases, the claimant recovers from the illness or injury. Permanent Total Disability (PTD) awards are paid when it is established that the employee will never again be able to work in reasonable employment.
MMI plays a role when permanent but partial disabilities are suffered. Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) is the partial or total loss of the function of a member or members of the body or the body as a whole. These impairment awards set by statutory schedules are designed strictly to compensate the employee for the loss or loss of use of body parts or functions.
What are maximum medical improvement benefits? This is another phrase for a PPI award, which can be made only after it’s determined that the employee has reached MMI (also referred to as “quiescence” or “permanence and quiescence”). MMI can be found by your physician, one working for the insurance carrier or an independent physician arranged by the Board. At this point, TTD ends and a PPI rating may be assessed by the treating physician or another doctor.
What happens after MMI?
After an insurance carrier physician evaluates the employee for PPI, the employer/carrier offers a written agreement stating the degree of impairment and the amount and method of payment. The employee and his attorney need to determine whether they think that evaluation is accurate, then make sure the agreement properly calculates the PPI rating and average weekly wage prior to signing the agreement. You can ask the Board for an independent medical exam if you find the insurance company’s rating unacceptable.
Awards for PPI may be paid in a lump sum when the parties agree that’s how they wish to settle and the Board approves the sum. A PPI is normally paid in weekly installments equal to two-thirds of the employee’s former average weekly wage.
How Coriden Glover can help you with your workers’ compensation claim
The workers’ compensation claims process can seem intimidating if you’ve never experienced it before. It’s important to understand that many people in Indiana go through this every day. Our workers’ compensation attorneys know Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws inside and out.
We are fierce advocates for our clients and provide aggressive legal representation. We have handled many different types of workers’ compensation claims, and there is little that will surprise us. Don’t put your claims in the hands of an attorney who will “learn on the job” while handling your case.
If you are a worker who has suffered an injury and you have questions about maximum medical improvement benefits or would like help with your claim, contact a Columbus, IN, workers’ compensation attorney at Coriden Glover today by filling out our contact form or calling us at 1-866-375-9800 today.