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Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement

When you are injured on the job and file a workers’ compensation claim, you will likely have to see a doctor periodically to get checkups and further treatment so your injury can heal. Over time, your condition will improve with treatment, but there may come a point where your condition stops improving without ever reaching full healing. This is known as “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI for short, and reaching this point will signal a dramatic change to your personal injury claim. Let’s learn more about what MMI means and how your case will be different as a result.

What Is MMI?

To be more precise, MMI is the point where your doctor believes your condition will not improve any further with any reasonable treatment. Essentially, by declaring that you have reached MMI, your doctor is saying that together the both of you have tried every reasonable healing option, you’ve stuck with their orders to the best of your ability, and, unfortunately, your condition won’t get any better than it is now.

When you reach this point, you may receive a second opinion if you think that your doctor may have overlooked something. However, once you choose to accept this designation, your doctor will assign you a disability rating. This rating depends on the nature of your condition and how much it will impact you. While these disabilities are generally considered permanent, you could be given either a “partial” or “total” disability rating.

Partial vs. Total Disability

Permanent “partial” disability means you still have most or some of your functional ability and can still work in a gainful capacity. However, that does not necessarily mean you can return to your previous position—if you can, you’ll likely have to do so with restrictions or modifications. If you can’t perform the job you had before your injury, you’ll probably need to be relocated to a different position that can accommodate your new needs. The workers’ compensation system sometimes helps with this by making sure those who have been hurt can receive the training they need to perform their new job duties.

Permanent “total” disability is more serious, and essentially means you have lost all ability to be gainfully employed. These cases are extremely rare, since they are extremely debilitating—and tremendously expensive for insurance companies to have to pay for. Therefore, if you have been badly hurt and think you might be permanently disabled, it’s strongly advised you contact a Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer to help stand up for your rights.

Injured on the job? Contact the Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys at Smolich & Smolich at today for a free case evaluation!

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