Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement in a Construction Accident Claim
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Michigan employees who suffer injuries at work are entitled to 80% of their after tax average weekly wages. Problems arise when the employer’s insurance company says the injured person can work in other capacities and is only entitled to partial disability workers’ compensation.
The insurance company gets away with this by demonstrating that jobs are available even if they do not match the employee’s current position. This unfair practice can mean the injured employee only receives a fraction of their normal pay.
Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to insurance companies when applying for workers’ comp because the physically demanding nature of the job means they can’t return to the same position unless they fully recover. However, construction workers are at high risk of injuries to their back, neck, shoulder, and knees, and after years of heavy labor, it is not easy to adjust to doing a desk job.
To ensure you get the compensation benefits you deserve, contact Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C. to discuss your case. We can advise you on the best way to conduct your claim. A worker’s compensation attorney at our law firm can explain what benefits you are entitled to as an injured worker, how to file a claim, and whether you need an independent medical examination (IME).
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
How much compensation you receive for a workplace accident and for how long it is paid is determined by one factor: maximum medical improvement.
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is an assessment made by your doctor. This is when they determine your recovery has progressed as far as you can expect from your injury or illness.
This is a significant milestone in your recovery as it signifies the transition from a temporary disability to a permanent one.
What Does it Mean to Reach a Plateau?
During your recovery, you may reach a position where medical treatment is no longer affecting your condition. This may be because you are fully recovered, or it may mean the disability caused by your injury or illness will continue at the same level for the foreseeable future.
At this stage, you are deemed to have reached your permanent state of ability. Because no further improvement is considered possible, you are assessed by a medical examiner who determines whether you have a permanent impairment or a partial impairment.
This assessment (the IME) determines the types of benefits you will receive. At this stage, temporary disability payments will end.
How Do You Obtain Permanent Partial Disability Status?
Upon reaching maximum medical improvement, you may be able to apply for a Permanent Partial Disability award. If you wish to claim this type of disability benefit, you will have to undergo a medical examination to assess the severity of your disability.
The medical appointment where the assessment takes place is crucial as it will determine your impairment rating. Your rating will affect the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive. An injured employee may object to an assessment if they feel the disability impairment rating is too low.
You may request an uplift of your disability impairment rating, but that will require you to take another examination.
How Does Permanent Partial Disability Work?
Permanent Partial disability workers’ comp claims are among the most common compensation claims in Michigan, covering medical expenses and lost wages.
Employees filing permanent partial disability workers’ comp claims are disqualified from full workers’ compensation. Insurance companies will conduct a transferable skills analysis and vocational assessment, determining what jobs are available to you.
Workers’ comp benefits should compensate an employee for the differential wage loss benefits when forced to take lower paying jobs. In these cases, this may not happen, and an attorney is necessary to safeguard your rights.
Short-Term, Long-Term, and Permanent Disability
Insurance companies dealing with workers’ compensation insurance understand workers’ compensation claims. They are used to making case-by-case evaluations of claimants injured at work.
Temporary total disability benefits are meant to be paid to you while you are unable to return to your old job due to your injury. These payments cease once you are fully healed and can return to work or have reached MMI.
Seek Legal Counsel Following a Construction Accident
If you reach maximum medical improvement but are still unable to return to work at the same capacity as before the accident, call our experienced construction injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW). We will be happy to discuss your options for filing the right workers’ compensation claim.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.