In the context of a workers’ compensation claim, Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) means that your condition is stable and cannot be further improved with additional medical treatment. It does not, necessarily, mean that you have recovered.
Despite being at maximum medical improvement, you may continue to receive medical compensation benefits, including, for example, pain management treatment, provided by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your doctor has placed you at MMI and has not recommended additional medical treatment, you may need to obtain a second opinion. If you require ongoing treatment for a compensable workers’ compensation claim, keep in mind that you should keep track of your medical treatment and ensure that the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is paying for medical treatment at least every two years. As with all legal matters, there are statutes of limitation that, if missed, could prevent you from obtaining future benefits.
Once you reach maximum medical improvement, your doctor will likely assign a permanent partial disability rating. The amount of money the rating is worth is a function of your compensation rate (which is two-thirds of your pre-injury average weekly wage), the body part injured, and the rating assigned by your doctor. The higher the rating the doctor assigns, the more money you are entitled to under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. At this point, you may receive a North Carolina Industrial Commission Form 26A Employer’s Admission of Employee’s Right to Permanent Partial Disability from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If you receive a Form 26A, you should contact an attorney before signing it, as it may substantially affect your rights to future workers’ compensation benefits, especially your right to future lost wage benefits.
If you have received a permanent partial disability rating, which you think is not accurate, you should contact an attorney as there may be opportunities to obtain a higher rating, or ratings for additional body parts. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in reviewing your claim to ensure you are receiving fair compensation for your work injury. If you have questions regarding how to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits, contact us today for a FREE initial consultation.