Those who are dealing with workers’ compensation cases in Missouri should be aware of the point in the process known as “maximum medical improvement (MMI).” Your treating physician will be able to determine when you have reached MMI. Once you have reached MMI, your doctor has made the reasonable determination that your physical condition is not likely to improve. This blog will explain the significance of MMI and what it means for your workers’ compensation case.
Temporary Disability Payments
After you suffer an injury at work and receive medical treatment, you will probably have to spend at least a few days (or much longer) to recover. During your recovery, you might not be able to work at all or will be able to work in a limited capacity. Based on your ability to continue working, you might be eligible to receive either temporary partial disability (TPD) or temporary total disability (TTD). The TPD rate is calculated as two-thirds of the difference between average earnings and the earnings you will likely be able to earn during the time period of your partial disability.
If, on the other hand, you will be completely disabled during your recovery, you are eligible for TTD payments. The TTD rate is calculated as two-thirds of your gross earnings prior to your injury. Both TTD and TPD earnings are subject to a maximum rate.
Permanent Disability Payments
After you reach MMI, you’ll need to determine whether you’re capable of returning to your previous occupation. If you will never be able to return but you can work in a different position, you might be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD).
To calculate your PPD pay, your doctor must give you an impairment rating; this value describes the extent to which your disabled body part is impaired. So, let’s say the doctor gives you an impairment rating of 50 percent on your injured hand after you reach MMI. You can calculate your pay by multiplying .5 by 175 weeks (the value given to a hand by the Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations). Then, multiply that number by two-thirds of your average weekly pay. If this formula seems strange to you, don’t hesitate to ask your attorney to clarify.
If, after you reach MMI, it is determined that you will never be able to work again, you might receive two-thirds of your average weekly pay for the rest of your life through permanent total disability (PTD). Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to receive your PTD payments as one lump sum.
Should You Settle Your Workers’ Compensation Case Before Reaching MMI?
Generally, you should wait for MMI before settling with your employer. You might now know the full extent of your injuries before you reach MMI. Additionally, you should seek a second opinion if you disagree with the first doctor’s determination of MMI.
Workers’ compensation cases, like most personal injury cases, can be incredibly complex. You should not attempt to represent yourself during your recovery process. Another mistake is accepting a settlement before you have a full and accurate picture of your physical condition. Our firm’s focus is helping personal injury victims get justice through precise, aggressive, and efficient legal counsel. Call our team at 636-875-7075 to set up a consultation today.