Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the point at which an injured workers’ compensation claimant’s condition has stabilized and is not expected to improve with additional medical treatment. In other words, MMI is the point at which the employee has reached the expected maximum level of recovery from their work-related injury or illness.

Once an employee reaches maximum medical improvement, they are typically released from medical care and are able to return to work, perhaps with some limitations. However, if the claimant remains partially or totally disabled, they can be awarded permanent benefits based on their medical status.

Sometimes an injured worker is released from care but with work restrictions. For example, if you are only able to work a light-duty job, you may be able to return to your employer if a light-duty position is available. When no such job is available, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation so that you can be employed in another role.

If your doctor released you with a permanent partial or a permanent total disability, you will be scheduled for a disability rating with a physician to determine your percentage of disability based on the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, published by the American Medical Association. If the rating physician believes you are unable to return to any type of employment, then you will be given a Permanent Total Disability (PTD) rating. However, if the doctor believes you are still able to work in some capacity, then you will be given a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) rating.

The award, or the amount of the permanent disability payment you receive, is based on a number of factors, including your percentage of disability, your age, and your wage at the time of the accident. It is important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney so you understand about the benefits you are entitled to. From there, you can make a decision about continuing periodic payments or negotiating a lump-sum settlement.

If you have any questions about Missouri workers’ compensation disability benefits or have been hurt on the job, reach out to RJC Law in Springfield by calling 417-233-0073 or contacting me online to schedule your free consultation.