At some point in your workers’ compensation case you will run into the term “maximum medical improvement”. Depending on the timing of this designation it can, and most likely will, effect your benefits.
Maximum medical improvement in Minnesota is defined as “the date after which no further significant recovery from or significant lasting improvement to a personal injury can reasonably be anticipated, based upon reasonable medical probability.” In most cases, this designation of being at maximum medical improvement will occur after an Independent Medical Examination. However, in some cases, your treating doctor will submit a report stating that you, the employee, has reached maximum medical improvement.
There are specific requirements that must be adhered to by the doctor and insurance company to place you at maximum medical improvement, such as: there must be a medical opinion indicating the employee has reached it, it must be served on the employee and attorney, it must contain specific identifying information such as name, SSN, date of service, and other statutory requirements.
After an employee receives the report indicating she/he has reached maximum medical improvement, the next issue is to determine how this will effect your benefits.
If you are receiving temporary total disability benefits, these will continue for an additional 90 days. Medical benefits will continue if you have been given a permanent restriction by your treating doctor and the IME report does not contain information to the effect that there are no lasting effects from the work injury.
The designation of maximum medical improvement will not effect your temporary partial disability benefits unless the IME doctor states that your symptoms are not the result of the work injury.
When you receive a letter from the insurance company indicating you are at maximum medical improvement, it is important to contact an attorney. Certain timelines are applicable and an attorney will need to submit certain information to the Department of Labor or the Office of Administrative Hearings before these deadlines pass. Additionally, many doctors and insurance companies try to prematurely place you at maximum medical improvement. If this is the case, we will fight to get your benefits back.
No attorney fees are associated with hiring an attorney under Minnesota workers’ compensation law unless there is a successful resolution of disputed benefits or there is a settlement of your case. And as always, there are no out of pocket fees.