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Why is your maximum medical improvement date important?

Your maximum medical improvement (MMI) date is an important milestone in your workers' compensation claim.

These are the most important things you should know about your MMI.

1. Your MMI is the date your recovery is over.

You may not ever be fully healed but there will come a time when you're done with recovery.

This means that your condition has stabilized. Barring some unexpected change, whatever problems you still have today from your injury will also be the problems you'll have to deal with in the future. Any treatment that you receive from this point forward is meant to maintain your current level of functioning, not improve it.

2. Your doctor determines the date of your MMI.

Your doctor, not your lawyer, your employer or the insurance company, is in charge of deciding when you've reached your MMI. If you don't understand why your doctor doesn't consider your recovery to have stabilized, ask him or her what it is that is delaying the decision.

3. It's important not to rush your MMI date.

If you do that, you may not receive enough compensation to adequately cover your needs.

For example, imagine that you injured your arm when your sleeve got caught on some machinery at work. Then imagine that you need surgery to repair the tendons and muscles. Six months later, your doctor recommends a second surgery, this time to repair the delicate nerve bundle in your arm that's affecting the fine motor skills in your hand.

If you settle your claim too soon, you wouldn't be able to include the second surgery, along with any additional therapy and other treatment in your claim.

4. Your MMI date controls when your temporary total disability payments stop.

Your employer may be anxious for your MMI date to be established because that signals an end to your temporary total disability payments.

Once your MMI is reached, you and your employer will know if you're able to return to work and at what level. Since settling your claim helps your employer control his or her insurance costs, you can expect a little pressure to reach MMI sooner rather than later.

Don't allow anyone to push you toward an early settlement. To protect your rights as an injured worker, consider contacting an attorney who handles workers' compensation claims.

Source: Insurance Writer, LLC, "Claims Management (Defining and Achieving Maximum Medical Improvement in Workers' Compensation Claims," accessed May 09, 2017

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