Taking It To The Next Level

When you get hurt at work, you can expect your employer to provide you with a type of insurance that's created just for workers. Workers' comp pays for your accident-related medical care and if you need time off work you may be able to get a portion of your pay while you do that. In most cases, your injury heals in a few weeks or months, and back to work you go. Read on learn what happens when you reach a special milestone in the way your workers' benefits are paid.

Get ready for your independent medical exam

If you've been unable to go back to your previous job for some time the workers' comp carrier may want to get more information about your injury. They will want to know why you are unable to go back, particularly if your injury is taking more time to get better than they predicted based on their database of past injuries.

The independent medical exam is performed by a special doctor, in most cases. In some states, you may already be seeing a workers' comp doctor, and in some states you can choose your own doctor. This exam is special because your present level of benefits is being questioned and evaluated.

Be prepared to show the doctor how your injury is still affecting your ability to work at your job as well as your daily life. The doctor won't be doing any treatment, but there may be some diagnostic tests performed, like exams or blood tests. If you've got paperwork related to the accident and have been taking notes or keeping a journal now is the time to review the information and refresh your memory.

The results of the independent medical exam

There are basically three different possible results from the exam:

  1. You need a bit more time to get better, and your current level of benefits will continue for the time-being.
  2. Your injuries have already healed enough for you to return to your position, and you must do so or be at risk of being fired from your job.
  3. You injuries are at maximum medical improvement (MMI)

Maximum medical improvement

Unfortunately, maximum medical improvement is another name for having a permanent injury. It is not that you don't need or won't receive further medical treatment, but that your injury is not expected to get any better. Your workers' comp benefits will change and adjust depending on the level of disability. You can have any percentage of disability up to 100%.

If you are ruled to be at MMI, you will now be offered a lump sum settlement. Be sure to get the help of a workers' comp attorney before you accept anything from the workers' comp carrier. You need enough money to get you through the rest of your life and it needs to be property structured, so speak to an attorney right away, such as at Bishop Dorfman Kroupa & Bishop PC.