What is MMI and How Does it Affect a Florida Workers’ Comp Claim?
If you were injured in a workplace accident, you may have already discovered that the consequences involve more than just physical pain. Many employees in your position are unable to return to work right away, so lost wages could start to add up significantly over several weeks or months. Fortunately, Florida workers’ compensation laws protect your interests by offering wage replacement benefits for qualifying employees.
You probably expect that these benefits will end once you return to work. However, if you return to work on restricted duty and earn less than 80% of your pre-injury wage, your right to pretrial disability benefits will continue until your reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). Disputes may develop between you and your employer’s insurance company when that time comes, so it is important to retain an Ocala workers’ compensation lawyer to assist with your claim.
How MMI Affects Your Workers’ Comp Benefits: There are other parties that have an interest – a financial interest – in your ability to perform job-related tasks. Your employer and your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will want you to return as soon as possible, since doing so reduces the costs of paying you wage replacement benefits. Your MMI holds the key to their goal of terminating your benefits, whether you are really able to work or not.
How Florida Defines MMI: Once you understand the role of MMI, you should become familiar with how the concept is defined in the Florida workers’ comp statute. MMI is the date after which you are not expected to recover any further from your injury. Medical professionals do not foresee that you will experience any improvement to your injury, either through treatment or a longer recovery period. MMI does NOT mean you have recovered, so you could still have significant limitations.
Disputes Regarding MMI: The statutory definition may seem clear and straightforward, but disagreements often arise because of the conflicting interests mentioned above. An important issue is that the determination of MMI is based upon what is considered “reasonable” according to health care professionals. Even if your physician does not believe that you have reached MMI, the workers’ comp insurance company may request a second opinion through an independent medical exam (IME) conducted by its own doctor. A health care provider paid by the insurer is more likely to side with the company and find that you have reached MMI, justifying a termination of your benefits.
Contact an Ocala, FL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer to Discuss Your Claim
For additional information and answers to your questions about MMI, please contact the Ocala workers’ compensation lawyers at the Musleh Law Firm. We can help in dealings with your employer’s insurance company and can take things to the next level if necessary to protect your rights. You can set up a free consultation at our offices by calling 352-732-0600 or visiting our website.