One of the most common questions from clients is: I have been put at MMI – what does that mean and what do I do now? “MMI” is an abbreviation for “maximum medical improvement”. MMI is a term used in Florida workers compensation claims and commonly refers to an end point in an injured workers medical treatment.
The Florida Law for Maximum Medical Improvement
MMI is defined in Florida Statutes as the date “after which further recovery from, or lasting improvement to, and injury or disease can no longer be reasonably anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability”. Fla. Stat. §440.02(10). What does this mean? For practical purposes, it is the end point of your treatment with your doctor after he/she has given you physical therapy, injections or surgery, and you have completed whatever course of treatment that was prescribed. MMI can occur very quickly for minor injuries, and it may not occur for up to two years for more serious work injuries.
Your Options After Being Placed on Maximum Medical Improvement
Many injured workers in Florida are led to believe their workers compensation claim is over once they are placed at MMI. This is not true. For starters, just because you have been placed at MMI does not mean that you cannot return to your doctor for a persistent injury or for aggravations of the injury. It is critical that you return to the workers compensation authorized doctor at least once every 12 months after you have been placed at MMI. If you don’t, you will lose your rights to pursue workers compensation benefits. This last point is worth repeating – if you have been placed at MMI, it is critical that you continue to return to the doctor in order to keep your claim open.
Once you have been put at MMI, you may have a few different options to pursue:
- A workers compensation settlement – many insurance companies are motivated to settle claims once the injured worker has been put at MMI. The value of your settlement depends on the amount of medical care and wage benefits the workers comp insurance company may have to pay for in the future;
- Get a second opinion – although the Florida Legislature has eliminated the option for an injured worker in Florida to get a second opinion, you may be able to utilize your one-time change of doctors to obtain a second opinion about your injury and options for treatment;
- Obtain vocational retraining – if you can no longer return to your former position because of your injury, you can seek vocational retraining, either through the State of Florida, or through a college or vocational school. If you do seek re-training, the insurance company can be required to pay you wage benefits for up to 6 additional months, even if you have already been placed at MMI;
- Leave your claim open – if you don’t have the ability to obtain medical care for your injury other than through workers compensation, you can leave your claim open and continue to treat with your workers comp authorized doctor. As long as you see the doctor at least one time every 12 months, you can keep your workers compensation claim open for the rest of your life.
Don’t Risk a Mistake — Contact a Fort Lauderdale Worker’s Comp Lawyer Today
It is important to get accurate information about your options once you have been released by the workers comp doctor. Clients have told me in the past they have actually been told by their doctor that they can no longer be treated once they are put at MMI. Learn more about your Florida workers compensation rights by contacting the Maus Law Firm.