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What does “Maximum Medical Improvement” Mean in Your Workers’ Compensation Case?


Published in Workers Compensation on March 9, 2020.

Workers’ compensation is provided by employers intended to pay benefits to employees injured at work, regardless of who was at fault. If you’ve been injured and unable to work, workers’ compensation can cover your lost income and pay your medical expenses. Unfortunately, the process can be somewhat complicated and difficult to understand. 

At Nelson & Smith, Attorneys at Law, our Macon workers’ compensation attorneys know how overwhelming the process can be. Contact us directly to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options. 

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) Defined

In layman’s terms, Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is defined as the point at which you are not expected to get any better. This could be the point at which you are fully healed and need no further treatment. In other cases, however, it may mean that you are not fully healed but that you will not get any better.  In those cases, the victim now has either a total or partial permanent disability.    

Why MMI is Important to Your Claim

When you are injured and unable to work, there are two types of benefits that you may receive: 

  • Temporary benefits for your lost wages and medical expenses; and 
  • Permanent disability benefits

MMI is important to your claim because it will generally determine the amount of temporary benefits you will receive. In some states, you are prohibited from receiving any temporary benefits once it has been determined that you have reached your MMI. Unless you are fully recovered, you must either settle your case or begin receiving permanent disability benefits.      

In Georgia, you can continue to receive until 400 weeks from the date of your injury, with the possibility of further benefits in the event of a catastrophic injury. However, MMI is still important. It will determine whether you have any permanent restrictions, at which point you may want to consider settling your case. The insurance company will likely want to settle, but be aware that they may try to settle your case for less than it is worth. 

How MMI is Determined

In order to determine your MMI, you will need to be examined by a doctor. Unfortunately, you cannot choose your own doctor. Your employer must post a list of qualifying physicians in the workplace who will provide treatment in the event of injury. 

In determining your MMI, the doctor will also decide whether you are able to return to work without restrictions or whether you will have a permanent disability. If you are disabled, the doctor will determine what work restrictions you will need and assign you a disability rating. You have the right to object to the doctor’s determination if you believe you have not reached MMI or any other aspect of the determination, and the matter will be heard by the Workers’ Compensation Board. 

Contact a Macon, Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you want to make sure you’re getting the benefits you need, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can provide you with invaluable representation. Contact the Macon workers’ compensation lawyers at Nelson & Smith, Attorneys at Law, by calling (478) 746-1468 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help with your case.