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What is Maximum Medical Improvement and Why Does It Matter?

Shot of a senior man in a wheelchair standing up with the help of a nurse

Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is likely a term you have never heard unless you have been injured in a workplace incident. MMI is a very important concept in Virginia worker’s compensation proceedings that refers to the point at which your medical condition can no longer be expected to improve, regardless of how much additional medical care, therapy or attention you may receive. One reason it is so important in the context of Virginia worker’s compensation proceedings is that once you reach MMI, your treating physician or another physician often will assign you a permanent disability rating as a result of your workplace injuries. This rating will have an impact a portion of your workers' compensation award because settlement negotiations will often begin in earnest once this rating has been assigned. Therefore, MMI is very important for ensuring that you receive maximum compensation for your Virginia workers' compensation claim and workplace injury.

Benefits under Virginia Workers' Compensation Law if You Have Reached MMI

One of the benefits that those who have been injured on the job in Virginia receive is lifetime medical benefits for all treatment associated with their workplace injury. The lifetime medical benefits you receive for a workplace injury under Virginia law do not stop just because you reach MMI. Even if you have reached maximum medical improvement, you can still use your lifetime medical award to return to the doctor and receive any care, diagnostic tests (MRIs, CT scans, X-rays), physical therapy, prescription medication, or other care you may need for your work injury.

Why Does MMI Matter in Virginia Workers' Compensation Proceeding?

MMI is important because, once an injured worker has reached MMI, then the treating physician typically often will give the opinion that the injured worker is at the best position he or she will ever be at for purposes of the workplace injury. The worker may still require pain management, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture or other treatment to manage the residual pain or other symptoms that comes with the injury, but there is no actual improvement that can often be expected in the injury.

Once a worker has reached MMI, he or she often also will be assigned a permanent disability rating. This is an assessment by a physician (not always your workers' compensation┬átreating physician) as to what your future ability to work is, i.e. whether you will be able to return to your old job, what permanent restrictions you may have, etc. This is usually expressed as a percentage. This becomes important because settlement talks with your employer and its worker’s compensation carrier will often begin in earnest once an individual reaches MMI. This is because, once an individual has reached MMI, his or her condition is unlikely to change much and the parties to the worker’s compensation proceeding can assess whether the individual is likely to qualify for permanent partial disability payments, whether the work can return to his or her old job, etc.

Contact the Experienced Virginia Workers' Compensation Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman

If you have suffered a workplace injury in Virginia, then workers' compensation coverage exists to compensate you for the damages that you suffer as a result of those injuries. Our experienced Virginia workers' compensation attorneys know how to ensure, once you have reached MMI, that you receive maximum compensation for your Virginia worker’s compensation claim even if your employer or its workers' compensation carrier is attempting to minimize your ability to do so.

If you have been injured in a workplace incident in Virginia, please contact Kalfus & Nachman today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.

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