If you’ve treated for a work related injury in New Jersey, chances are you’re familiar with the phrase ‘Maximum Medical Improvement’ (MMI). This refers to the point where you have reached a plateau with regards to treatment. Basically, the point at which you are no longer becoming noticeably better or worse. This does not mean the doctor thinks you are cured, just that your physician feels you have reached the maximum benefit from your course of treatment.
What happens now. If you are not seeking additional medical treatment, then it is time to determine your permanent impairment that results from your injury. If you have permanent functional loss as a result of a work related injury, you are entitled to a permanent disability award, a cash award based upon the overall level of permanent impairment.
If you feel that you are still in need of additional medical treatment, you should request a second opinion with a doctor that specializes in your type of injury. The law does not require a workers’ compensation carrier to grant a second opinion, however, this does not mean it won’t happen.
After discharge, workers’ compensation carriers are only required to provide treatment that is curative (such as surgery, diagnostic testing to determine a course of treatment, post surgical physical therapy) not palliative treatment, such as pain medicine for ongoing pain.
You should contact an attorney if you are having difficulty obtaining medical treatment or if you have a permanent injury as a result of a work accident. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or to schedule an appointment to discuss a potential workers’ compensation claim.
James Creegan is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Lawrenceville, New Jersey office concentrating his practice in Workers’ Compensation law. For questions, or to schedule a free consultaiton with Mr. Creegan, please contact him here.