I Finished My Work Injury Treatment, Now What? – In previous blogs, we’ve addressed Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), which is the moment when doctors consider there’s no more medical treatment that can make you improve your condition any further. Nonetheless, what happens after MMI?
A lot of times doctors will say your case is closed. However, that’s not the case. Your case is not closed, it just means they’re shutting down their medical file for you, at least for the moment.
My work injury treatment is done and I now need maintenance care
After MMI you may still need maintenance care. This means it is treatment, not to get better, but to maintain your condition. If your doctor recommends maintenance care, make sure that you do it. If the doctor prescribes medications, exercise, or therapy, you should keep doing that.
Make sure you’re continuing with the maintenance medications, because if you let time go by without getting them, the more time that passes, eventually the insurance company will say that you don’t need it so they will not provide it anymore.
What happens with work after my treatment is done and I am placed at MMI?
You might be off work and you might be getting some Workers’ Compensation benefits, but until you get what’s called a final admission of liability, you’re not able to apply for unemployment, but the moment you get it you should apply for unemployment.
There can be 3 work situations after MMI:
1. Regular job
If you can do your regular job and you’re able to do it fine, keep working. Otherwise, if you want to change jobs maybe you can. However, you should talk with an attorney before doing that.
2. Reasonable accommodations
You’re working, but you’re being accommodated. Maybe you’re only doing part of the job, or maybe you’re doing a modified light-duty job. In that case, you need to ask your employer if there are any real positions that you can do either with or without what’s called reasonable accommodations.
A reasonable accommodation is a change made to a working position that will let a person with a restriction keep doing their job without problems. For example, if part of your job is to put books away in a bookcase, but the bookcase is pretty high and you have a restriction that doesn’t let you reach overhead because of a shoulder injury, a reasonable accommodation would be to get you a step stool.
3. Off work
You’re off work completely and your employer hasn’t been able to accommodate you. In addition, you have restrictions, you’re at MMI, and you’ve been told that your wage loss is going to end soon. First, we recommend talking with your employer to see if there’s any position available that you’re capable of doing with or without reasonable accommodations.
Maybe you don’t agree with the restrictions, the doctor might say they think you shouldn’t lift more than 15 pounds. Furthermore, you know you can lift them and that would let you do your regular job. In that case, you should talk with the doctor so they can send you for a test to see how much you can safely lift, and that way you can get your restrictions reduced.
If your employer doesn’t have any position available for you then you will need to look for other employment. This can be scary particularly if you’re injured and you’re no longer able to do the kind of work you did before.
Unfortunately, Worker’s Compensation is poorly equipped to help compensate and keep people afloat in those times. There are no benefits, for example, for vocational rehabilitation. We can’t get our clients’ wage loss after MMI if they’re capable of doing some other kind of employment. Even if it’s a really light job, part-time, temporary minimum wage job.
We’re here to help
We worry about people in those situations the most, because they really need a lot of assistance, they need to rethink, retool, retrain, etc. That’s where we come in. Consequently, once the final admission of liability comes in, we have a face-to-face discussion with our clients to decide what benefits we agree with. We come up with an action plan to fight for either more treatment, more impairment, more benefits, or all of the above.
The insurance companies already have attorneys helping them pay injured workers the least amount possible, so you need to have access to an attorney who will guide you, advise you, and help you get the most.
If you or your loved ones have been injured on the job in Colorado, we can help you. Call or text us at 970-356-98-98, all of our consultations are free and confidential.
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