Why is Maximum Medical Improvement Important in a Workers’ Comp Case?
When our team begins to represent a new workers’ comp client, the first thing we do is fight to get that person proper treatment by the right doctors. Comp cases will generally go on until the injured worker gets to what we call “Maximum Medical Improvement”, or MMI.
An opinion from the doctor that an injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement means that the doctor believes the work related injury has improved as much as it ever will. Hopefully, there is 100% improvement, but most of the time, there is some permanent impairment. Following an MMI opinion, the injured worker will likely be sent by their doctor for an examination known as a functional capacity evaluation.
Functional Capacity Evaluations, or FCE, take place at a physical therapist’s office. The physical therapist will put the injured worker through a litany of physical tests to determine the degree of impairment.
In most cases, the legal team will need an opinion from the doctor of maximum medical improvement and opinions as to impairment ratings before the case can be settled or resolved.
How does our team go about obtaining these opinions from doctors? Once our client tells us he/she is better (or not getting better), we send the doctor a specific medical questionnaire that requests these opinions. If a doctor drags his/her feet in answering the questionnaire, often times we will ask the injured worker to schedule an appointment and hand deliver the questionnaire to his/her doctor for answers. Additionally, we may request the FCE to get the case in a settling position.
Have a great week!
“Judge less, love more”- JKR