What does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean?

Posted Sun 14th Jun, 2015 | by | on Workers Compensation | mmrydkpc

Maximum Medical Improvement is typically a term that is used in the workers’ compensation setting, but also applies generally to an injured person’s recovery status.  With respect to the workers’ compensation context, at some point in medical treatment, the “authorized treating physician” determines that everything medically necessary has been done to improve the injured workers’ medical condition following the work-related injury. This does not mean that the injured worker has returned to the same condition as before the injury.  For example, if the injured worker has had a finger amputated, the workers’ compensation doctor is understandably not responsible to grow the injured worker a new finger. However, the precise point at which medical treatment is complete, with a less visible injury such as a back injury, becomes a more unclear determination, and thus more open to abuse by doctors and insurance companies. Is the “authorized treating physician” doing everything he or she can for the injured worker, or simply releasing the injured worker far too early? How would the injured worker prove that he or she was released from medical treatment too early?

Many injured workers’ incorrectly think that they will get free medical treatment for their work-related injury for the rest of their lives. This is why it is important to know what steps are required to get appropriate medical treatment.  The injury attorneys at Kidneigh and Kaufman, we can help you pursue further medical treatment if you think you have been released from the “authorized treating physician” too early.

Permanent Partial Disability is also an important term that is often used in workers’ compensation cases.  At the time the “authorized treating physician” determines that the injured worker is to be released from treatment, he or she also makes a determination whether the injured worker has a “permanent impairment”. This “permanent impairment”, in combination with other criteria, will determine how much money the injured worker receives for his or her claim. In the above case of an amputated finger, it is clear that the injured worker has permanently lost function and mobility in the finger, because the finger is permanently gone. However, when the injury is less visible, as with a back injury, the compensation for a permanent injury is also less clear. Is the “authorized treating physician” giving the claimant an artificially low rating, so that the claimant will receive less money for the claim?.  A difference of a few percentage points for the permanent impairment rating in such case, can mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars. How would the injured worker know if he or she is getting an artificially low rating?  What doctor should an injured worker go to if he or she disagrees with the “authorized treating physician?” The Denver injury attorneys Kidneigh and Kaufman, have years of experience with such determinations, and can help you maximize the value of your claim in this regard.

A Final Admission of Liability is the next step in a workers’ compensation claim. Following the determination of “maximum medical improvement” and the assignment of a “permanent partial disability impairment rating” by the “authorized treating physician” the report of “maximum medical improvement” gets sent to the insurance company, who will determine if they agree with the rating assigned by their “authorized treating physician”. If the rating is not too high, the insurance company might agree with the rating and issue a Final Admission of Liability, admitting to the rating assigned by the “authorized treating physician”. The Final Admission of Liability is a time sensitive document.  If the injured worker receiving the Final Admission does not file an “Objection” with the appropriate offices with State of Colorado and the insurance company within a very short designated time frame, the injured worker is deemed to have agreed with the ”permanent impairment rating” the ability to proceed with the claim may be terminated. Many, if not most, injured workers have no idea that they are under a time deadline to preserve their rights, and if the deadline passes without objection, such rights can permanently be lost. 

At Kidneigh and Kaufman, our injury lawyers will help you meet such deadlines and preserve your rights to pursue more money and more medical treatment.  Call us today for a FREE consultation.  303-393-6666.