After a workplace accident in New Jersey, the employee is entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim and collect lost wages while they are receiving medical treatment. At some point, the Workers’ Comp doctor will announce that the worker has reached “maximum medical improvement (MMI).” This means that the doctor does not feel the recovery will improve further. At this stage, the Workers’ Comp doc is basically saying that all reasonable measures have been taken and there is no hope for the patient get any better.
Before two years from the day you’ve been declared MMI by the Workers’ Compensation doctor, you must file for a cash settlement in your Workers’ Comp lawsuit. While it’s very important to contact a skilled Workers’ Comp personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, the filing of the lawsuit will wait until you’ve reached MMI.
However, it’s not unusual for a patient’s condition to worsen after they’ve been told they have reached the maximum level of improvement but before the case settles. It’s for this reason that a good Workers’ Comp lawyer will delay filing for the final judgment in your case. If you go back to the Worker’s Comp doctor, the clock starts over on the two year statute of limitations. Therefore, you should not hesitate to go back and obtain further treatment.
Additionally, if your Workers’ Comp physician says you have reached MMI but you feel that all avenues of treatment have not be exhausted, you have a right to get a second opinion. Contact a knowledgeable Workers’ Comp lawyer who will fight for your rights.
The final settlement amount will be calculated based on the lasting or permanent effects of your accident – after the doctor says you’ve reached MMI. This is why it’s important to make sure you are truly as healed as much as possible before pursuing your cash settlement.
If you file for your settlement prior to reaching MMI, you run the risk of accepting an amount of money that doesn’t cover your needs and doesn’t address complications that you may still face.
A personal injury lawyer with significant experience in Workers’ Comp law can evaluate your situation and determine the best time to file your claim so you maximum your settlement and stay within the statute of limitations.
At Lombardi and Lombardi, we are proud to offer the finest legal representation to employees facing Workers’ Compensation lawsuits following workplace accidents. We will fight hard for you to make sure you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law. Call us today for a free consultation about your accident and injuries.