MMI: Permanent Restrictions for Work Injuries – If you’re an injured worker at Maximum Medical Improvement, your doctor may assign you to permanent work restrictions. What options or rights do you have in workers’ compensation? How should you talk with the treating doctor if you think you can continue working your old job? What if you can’t?
What is the difference between permanent restrictions and temporary restrictions?
The last few blogs have been about MMI. We’ve gone over what happens if you’re approaching Maximum Medical Improvement and we’ve also covered what Maximum Medical Improvement means. But today, we’re talking about permanent restrictions.
Your work injury may be serious enough that you can no longer do the kinds of work you used to do, so the doctor will give you what we call temporary restrictions. They’re called temporary restrictions because we are hoping that you get better and you recover 100%. While you have temporary restrictions, your employer may or may not choose to accommodate your restrictions by having you come to work doing a light-duty. If you still have restrictions once you’re at MMI, they’re going to be considered permanent restrictions.
Can I go back to work if my restrictions aren’t severe?
Permanent restrictions don’t really matter in a workers’ compensation case and they don’t have to stop you from working unless the restrictions are so severe that you are unable to return to work. This might put you in a difficult situation if you’re at MMI because we can’t get you anything for wage loss unless you’re completely unable from finding employment and earning any amount of wages.
Otherwise, if you are capable of doing some kind of employment at MMI, your permanent restrictions, by and large, don’t matter. If you are able to work, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether or not you need formal restrictions.
What if my restrictions prevent me from returning to my old job?
If you know you can’t go back to doing your old job, you may want to have your permanent restrictions fleshed out. Typically, there are two ways to do that. Your doctor can simply assign you restrictions based upon their expertise and experience or you could be put through what’s called a Functional Capacity Evaluation, an FCE. It’s a study that lasts several hours and it tests how much you can lift, how much you can work, walk, reach, et cetera. Your permanent restrictions can be based on the results of that evaluation.
What protections are there for injured workers who are unable to work?
The important thing to note is if you’re not able to go back to doing your old job, then you’re going to have to think about what are some of your alternatives. Unfortunately, there are very few protections for injured workers who can’t go back to doing their old job with their employer because of a work injury once they reach Maximum Medical Improvement.
We’re happy to help
If you or someone you know is looking at having permanent restrictions or that there may be permanent restrictions, please let them know that Kaplan Morrell Attorney’s at Law is happy to talk with them. We offer free consultations and we only charge a contingency fee, which means we only collect if we are able to collect benefits for you. For more information call us at (970)-356-9898 or visit our website.
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