Sometimes, an injured worker will never recover completely from a work-related injury but, if they were awarded workers’ comp temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, these are payable until the employee has healed as much as they're going to.
This point of recovery is called maximum medical improvement (MMI), and it's an important milestone in a workers’ comp claim.
How Maximum Medical Improvement Is Determined
The goal of TTD benefits is to allow an injured worker to get the medical treatment and time off work they need to recover and return to work. Your physician of record may determine, based on a medical assessment, you reached this point after treatment and sufficient recovery time. This doesn't necessarily mean you are able to return to your former job or that you're able to do what you did before the injury. Regardless, TTD benefits stop when you reach MMI, as determined by one of the following:
- Physician of record. When your workers’ comp doctor decides that your recovery has plateaued and you will not get any better, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) or the self-insured employer is informed and will terminate TTD benefits as of the date indicated by the doctor.
- Independent Medical Exam (IME). If it's determined at one of your periodic medical exams that you have reached MMI, it will be reported to the BWC, which confirms the conclusion with your physician of record. If the doctor agrees, your TTD benefits will be terminated.
- Ohio Industrial Commission. If your physician disagrees with the IME conclusion, the BWC will refer the case to the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) to make the final determination. You and your attorney will be notified of the date for the hearing. If the IC decides that you have reached MMI, you can appeal the decision.
If your TTD benefits were terminated because you have reached MMI, you still have options. If you return to work making less money than you did before, you might be eligible for wage loss benefits. If you can’t return to any work, you might qualify for permanent total disability benefits. You could also qualify for a retraining program.
Let Monast Law Office Help You
I've been practicing workers’ comp law in Ohio for over 35 years. If you were told you have reached maximum medical improvement, you need help understanding what that means and your options. Request my free guide, The Worker’s Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, and then contact my Columbus office to talk to someone who can help.