After an employee is injured on the job, he or she can file a Workers’ Compensation claim and receive medical treatment and lost wages. The bottom line of the third part of Workers’ Comp, however, a cash award, won’t be decided until after the Comp doc says the employee has reached “maximum medical improvement. (MMI)” In other words, following treatment – including surgeries, medication, rehab, physical therapy, etc. – the doctor will determine your recovery is the best it will be.
When a person’s condition can no longer be improved, the clock starts ticking on the Statute of Limitations for filing the final part of the Workers’ Compensation claim. It’s important to make sure your claim for a cash award, which will be based on the extent of your permanent injuries, before two years from the date you receive notice that you’ve reached MMI. After two years, you will likely be barred from bringing a claim for permanent injuries.
If you doctor has told you there are no more treatments that can be offered to improve your situation further, you may be frustrated. This is because it’s not unusual to get the MMI letter even though you are still in severe pain. You may not think all of your options have been exhausted. Still, the Workers’ Comp system has guidelines and one of them includes reaching the level of MMI as stated by the doctor assigned to your case. If you truly believe the Workers’ Compensation doctor has not exhausted all options in attempting to get you better, you can speak with your lawyer about pursuing alternate medical treatment.
After a patient reaches MMI, the doctor will offer a “disability rating” that will determine the amount of money you are entitled to receive from your employer’s Workers’ Comp carrier. This rating is important because it will set forth the expectation for your long-term injuries and help to determine your final settlement. For example, if your accident caused you to lose a limb, your disability rating would reflect a permanent loss. The Workers’ Comp benefits system using a guideline for determining the value of various parts of the body. If you lost an eye, it would be worth a certain amount in a claim. Loss of mobility would be worth a different amount. And so on.
It’s important to choose a skilled and experienced Workers’ Comp lawyer to assist you with this part of the process because your cash award, though dictated by state guidelines, still needs to be negotiated.
The savvy Workers’ Comp lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi will fight for maximum compensation in your settlement negotiations. We understand how it feels to get injured at work and have to suffer from lifelong pain and disability. Contact our office today for a free consultation about your workplace injury.