If you got hurt in a workplace accident, you might have heard the term “maximum medical improvement.” Workers’ compensation claims involve many complex legalities and factors that can impact your benefits, and understanding such terms can strengthen your claim. So, what is Virginia’s maximum medical improvement, and how does it affect your case?
Continue reading below to learn everything you need to know about maximum medical improvement to navigate the process with your best financial interests in mind.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
Workers’ compensation claims fall into a few different categories, depending on their severity. First, you must consider whether or not the injury is permanent or temporary. In some cases, like a simple broken ankle, this may be obvious. With more complex injuries involving weeks, months, or years of treatments, the patient’s outcome isn’t so clear upfront.
So, what is Virginia’s maximum medical improvement? Maximum medical improvement (MMI) refers to the point at which your doctor determines you’ve recovered from your injury as much as you will ever be able to. MMI is the official point where temporary disabilities are considered entirely healed or permanent impairments. If you reach MMI and are still not fully recovered, you may be eligible to continue seeking workers’ comp benefits for your permanent disability.
Applying for Workers’ Comp Permanent Disability
After undergoing a particular medical examination and receiving an official MMI diagnosis, you may apply for permanent disability benefits. Your doctor’s examination will directly impact the type of benefits you receive. The two main types of permanent disability categories include partial and total.
Permanent Partial vs. Total Disabilities
Permanent partial and total disabilities refer to the extent of your injuries. The categories are as follows:
- Partial: You have a permanent disability, though you can still partially work a light job or part-time position.
- Total: You have a permanent disability that prevents you from ever being able to work a job again. Permanent total disabilities typically offer larger benefits.
Your doctor will consider your mobility, function, restrictions, treatment requirements, and line of work when assessing the above categories.
What To Do If You Reach an Improvement Plateau
If you reach an improvement plateau in your recovery journey with an MMI diagnosis, you must follow a few critical steps to maintain your claim and seek maximum financial recovery:
- Deny settlements: After receiving an MMI diagnosis, many organizations may quickly offer a settlement amount to avoid long-term payments. While the settlement may seem generous initially, it typically won’t cover your long-term loss of work and medical requirements. You should consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement offers.
- Consider second opinions: Your doctor’s evaluation is one of the biggest determining factors in your compensation. If you feel they understated your disabilities or wrongly estimated your ability to work again, you may need a second opinion from an additional doctor. You must hire an attorney to go through this process.
- Hire an attorney: Receiving a permanent disability diagnosis is stressful enough without worrying about finances, settlements, and other legal issues. A workers’ comp attorney can handle your complex legalities and help you seek maximum compensation for your future funds.
Geoff McDonald & Associates: Ready To Help You Fight for Maximum Compensation
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, we want to help victims seek the funds needed to recover physically and financially from workplace accidents.
It’s time to seek professional legal support for your claim. Call Geoff McDonald & Associates in Virginia, today at (804) 888-8888 to consult with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys about your case. We have offices in Richmond and Virginia Beach.