If you are receiving workers’ compensation for an injury that occurred on the job, there is a point where you will reach maximum medical improvement, often referred to as MMI.  When an injured person reaches MMI under Georgia law, it means that a doctor has determined that their health and injuries will not improve any more than they have.  They have reached maximum medical improvement.  In this blog post, we will discuss what happens after you reach MMI under Georgia law.

How Do I Know When I’ve Reached MMI?

After a work-related injury, you should file a claim with the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Board and will start to receive benefits within 21 days after the first day you missed work.  During this time, you will receive treatment for your injuries.

The absolute maximum number of days that you can receive benefits before reaching MMI is 400 days, but it is usually a lot less than that.  After a certain time period of receiving treatments from an authorized physician, they will determine that you have reached MMI.  Only an authorized treating physician can determine when you have reached MMI.  Your employer does not have the right to make this determination. Neither can a physical therapist or a nurse practitioner.

Also, you may feel that you can determine on your own that you have reached the best health that you will get.  This is also not an acceptable determination of MMI.  Even if you feel better, an authorized physician might say that your injuries could get worse in the future and will not sign off on an MMI at that time.  In addition, they might want to use different types of therapies in order to get you as close to 100% as possible.

What is a Disability Rating?

Once a doctor has determined that you have reached MMI under Georgia law, and that you cannot return to work in the same capacity as before, you will be assigned a disability rating.  This does not mean that your workers’ comp benefits will be stopped.  It means that you will be assigned a disability rating by a doctor, which will determine how much you will receive after reaching MMI.  There are four categories of workers’ compensation benefits that a doctor can assign to you after you have reached MMI.

  • Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD) – TPD benefits apply to an injured worker who can return to work where they were before, but only on light duty.  They will receive less pay, but the TPD benefits will hopefully make up for the difference in pay.
  • Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD) – TTD benefits apply if an injured worker cannot work for seven days or more.  The injured worker will receive two-thirds of the salary that they earned before the accident.
  • Permanent Partial Disability Benefits  (PPD) – PPD benefits apply if an injured worker has permanent damage but still has the ability to work.  PPD benefits are divided into scheduled and unscheduled, depending on what body part is damaged.
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) – PTD benefits apply if the doctor states that your medical treatment is over and that you cannot return to work in any capacity.

If you disagree with a doctor’s decision that you have reached MMI, you don’t have to accept this decision.  You can always see another doctor to get a second opinion.  If both doctors have determined the same MMI and you still disagree with the determination, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options.

Does Reaching MMI Mean That My Case Is Settled?

One thing that injured workers need to keep in mind throughout the entire workers’ compensation process is that insurance companies are in the business of making money.  This means that they want to pay out the least amount possible for your workers’ compensation claim.

Most insurance companies will offer you a settlement right after you make a workers’ compensation claim.  It may be tempting to take the offer right away because it could seem like a lot of money at the time.  You may be in a vulnerable position, and that is what the insurance company is counting on.  They want you to make a rash decision.

Many injuries that happen on the job do not fully develop right away.  Some injuries take weeks or months to appear.  If you have already settled with the insurance company and your condition worsens, you will be responsible for any medical bills that happen after the settlement.  This is where MMI comes in.

You should not consider settling with the insurance company until you have reached MMI under Georgia law.  If a doctor (or more than one doctor) has determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement, then it is a high possibility that you will have no further injuries than you already have.  If you choose to discuss a settlement with the insurance company at this time, make sure you discuss all of your options with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney.

To summarize, you will reach MMI when an authorized physician has determined that you have reached the best physical recovery possible.  You will then be told whether you can return back to work completely, part time, or not at all.  If the doctor determines that you cannot return to work in the same capacity as before the accident, you will be placed in one of the disability ratings.  This does not mean that you have settled with the insurance company.  This means that your benefits will continue for a certain period of time.

What Should I Do If I Am Confused About MMI?

A workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, and you may still be asking what happens after I reach MMI in Georgia?  The MMI workers’ comp attorneys at Mann Law Firm help Georgia residents who have been injured at work get the benefits they deserve.

Attorney David Mann worked for many years as in-house counsel for a large insurance company and knows the tactics that they use in order to pay out as little as possible in workers’ compensation benefits.  He uses this knowledge to make sure that his clients receive all of the benefits that they deserve after a workplace accident.

David truly cares about the clients he represents and will fight for them with insurance companies and in court, if necessary.  If you have been injured at work, call Mann Law Firm today at (478) 742-3381 to get your benefits process started.

Attorney David Mann

Attorney David MannBefore leading his own firm, Mann served for several years as in-house defense counsel for a large insurance company, which gives him unique insight into how insurance companies work. He uses this critical knowledge as an advantage for his clients. He is a tough negotiator and litigator, and he is exceptionally strategic in building cases on behalf of personal injury victims.[ Attorney Bio ]


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