When you get injured and it is considered a personal injury, it may be a long road to recovery. Even if you are seen by a well-trained physician, it may not be immediately obvious what the full extent of the injuries are.

Some injuries and health implications may not be picked up right away or the pain from other problems is being masked. Also, judging how long injuries will require to heal and the various treatment options available requires time to work through. As such, it’s not a “snap-your-fingers, and here’s the immediate answer” situation. It requires more time than that.

Depending on whether the temporary incapacity for work occurred due to illness or injury outside work on the one hand, or due to illness or injury at work, the law provides for different solutions, primarily regarding the amount of salary compensation and ensuring payment of the same.

Due to the mentioned differences, which are significant, we will pay special attention to the manner of determining temporary incapacity for work due to illness or injury at work, as well as to determining the amount of salary compensation during that incapacity and ensuring payment of compensation.

All of this has an impact on what is known as ‘maximum medical improvement’ (MMI), which in turn affects final decisions about possible compensation levels.

The Course of Treatment is Often Longer with Serious Injuries

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The Hippocratic Oath to First, Do No Harm, is present in the minds of physicians who must carefully choose the right treatment option for new patients. For patients, even after arriving at the hospital and being initially assessed, having tests performed, and medical treatment provided, it may take weeks or months to resolve an injury.

Depending on the extent of the damage done to the bones, ligaments, joints, and other parts of the body, it could require multiple treatment approaches until a successful one is found. Also, in situations where surgical solutions offer the best prognosis for success, sometimes several operations are required over months or years. And even then, the solution may only be a partial one delivering only a small amount of restorative function.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

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Maximum medical improvement is a law in some states, including Minnesota, that reflects when it’s believed the claimant is unlikely to get any better than they are today.

Using the example above of a series of operations, the MMI would be the date when the physician confirms that further operations or other treatments are unlikely to provide a meaningful improvement in the current level of impairment or injury and the limitations it’s created.

It does get quite technical with the definitions, so can you read about what MMI is in more detail from this link.

How Does MMI Relate to Permanent Partial Disabilities?

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The establishing of an MMI for someone’s condition sets a legal line in the sand. While the person may still be experiencing varying levels of physical pain due to their condition, MMI looks at any reasonable medical chance for significant improvement and not variations in pain levels. This is an important distinction missed by many.

MMI is useful for claims because it establishes when it’s fair to judge the extent of the injury and/or disability for compensation purposes. But it also has another purpose too.

With the MMI decided, a physician can confirm whether there’s a permanent partial disability and how permanent it’s likely to be now all reasonable medical treatments have been exhausted. As such, it helps to provide clarity on a case.

Judging injuries and disabilities, their severity and likely permanence, along with knowing when it’s the end of the road for medical improvements, is important. Without it, it would be much harder for lawyers to assist in helping ensure compensation so that the victims can move on with their lives as best they can. After all, no one usually wants a case to drag on forever.

Permanent total disability

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In the event that doctors estimate that a car accident has led to permanent and complete disability, in that case, you will receive cash benefits once a week for the rest of your life. If the disability rate is between 70% and 80%, then you are entitled to a lifelong pension. In other words, after you receive money for all weeks of your disability, you also receive an additional amount of money, the amount of which depends on the level of disability.

How is permanent disability calculated?

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This calculation is based on several parameters, the most important of which is the percentage of injury. The first step towards this is a medical assessment of damage, during which the doctor examines you in detail and performs an assessment of the injury. After the doctor makes an assessment of the injury, the next step is approached, and that is the conversion to permanent disability. In other words, this is to determine the physical damage and how much it all affects your ability to take care of yourself in the future and to be able to perform daily activities on your own.

It is important to note that, after calculating the percentage of disability, the damage rating is increased by 40% by the Department of Industrial Relations, which means that if the disability is assessed by a doctor at 10%, the end result will be 14% (when we add this 40%). The final step would be to determine the value of the dollar. The rate of temporary disability is equal to the average weekly salary, while in the case of permanent disability it is much lower and should not exceed $ 300 per week.

Final thoughts

Having in mind the above legal provisions, it is very important that employees are aware of their rights when an injury at work or occupational disease occurs, or with the obligation of the employer to file a report of the injury or illness. So, get well informed and seek legal help.