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What Does MMI Mean in Workers’ Compensation?

Published on Jun 18, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

What does MMI Mean in workers' compensation?

A workplace injury can occur in the office or the construction site. According to data compiled by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, there were 38,600 nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses in 2021 across Kentucky’s private industries. At some point, every one of those injuries reached the maximum medical improvement (MMI).

What does the MMI designation mean in workers’ compensation benefits cases? Being assigned this status could halt the temporary total disability benefits (TDD), but it might not automatically mean the end of your benefits altogether.

Understanding Maximum Medical Improvement

Most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. If a worker is injured on the job, that coverage is meant to pay medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages. You will need to file a Kentucky workers’ comp claim to activate those benefits.

When the victim of a workplace accident reaches MMI, it means that a doctor has determined that no other medical care will make them better. For example, you could break your arm on a job site. You’ll receive those TDD benefits after filing a workers’ compensation claim. After you’ve gone through any prescribed physical therapy and it has gotten as best as it is going to get, a doctor finds that you have reached your MMI. However, that might not be the end of your troubles associated with that injury.

Work Limitations and MMI

In our state, your doctor provides your Louisville employer with a written MMI report that describes if there are any restrictions around your ability to work. The physician who makes the MMI determination will offer a whole person impairment (WPI) and partial impairment rating (PIR).

With the WPI, the entire body of the injured party is assessed as opposed to a specific body part in a PIR rating. For instance, if you injured your back, you could reach MMI, where no other treatment can help. However, your PIR rating might find that you can only stand for a certain amount of time before needing a break.

Simply put, your MMI designation determines if you can return to work. Limitations caused by the injury can trigger the need for additional workers’ comp claims.

At this point, discussing your issue with the Thomas Law Offices is advisable. The Kentucky workers’ compensation rules and regulations can be challenging. We have the experience and knowledge to help you make sense of all your benefit options.

Ongoing Benefits

Even though an MMI report states that the injury won’t get better than it currently is, it doesn’t mean that it can’t get worse. Unfortunately, the insurance carrier will stop paying the initial expenses once your doctor’s report is filed. However, even after the MMI finding, you can still be eligible for certain benefits. These are the potential payouts you’ll want to discuss with your attorney:

  • Compensation for Lost Wages: You might be able to return to work but in a different job that accommodates your new limitations. That can result in a loss of wages. It might also be that you can’t find a job where you can work at all. In that case, you might be eligible for non-working wage loss.
  • Permanent Total Disability: This applies to a workplace injury that is so severe it prevents you from ever returning to any work.
  • Rehabilitation Costs: There might be an option to enroll in vocational rehabilitation. That would provide you with the skills and training to master an alternative method of work. The costs of that rehabilitation can be covered.
  • Lump Sum Settlement: If it is evident that returning to work is not an option, the insurance carrier might offer a lump sum settlement. That would provide you with funds and allow the carrier to stop lifetime payouts. The only provision is that you need to sign off on filing any future claims related to the injury. You’ll want to review this agreement with a qualified attorney.

The Best Way Forward

The more severe the injury, the more you will need an attorney who understands how workers’ compensation insurance is designed to work in Kentucky. At Thomas Law Offices, we stay current on the ongoing changes in regulations. Our Louisville workers’ comp attorneys also know how to navigate the intricacies of managing an MMI assessment. The best way forward is to get informed. Call to discuss your situation today.

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At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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