What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?

Why is MMI Important to Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Maximum Medical Improvement is the term used within California Workers’ Compensation Law which applies to when one has recovered from their industrial injury.  Previously, in Workers’ Compensation Law, the term “Permanent and Stationary” was used.

According to the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Disability,  5th Edition,  Maximum Medical Improvement “refers to a date from which further recovery or deterioration is not anticipated, although over time there may be some expected change.”  The AMA Guides indicate that “an impairment should not be considered permanent until the clinical findings indicate the medical condition is static and well stabilized.”

For example, an individual who has knee surgery would not be considered as MMI until they have completed their course of physical therapy post-surgery.

employee recovering from injury from work

Why is MMI Important to an Industrially Injured Worker?

  • Rating of Your InjuryWhen each body part reaches MMI, treating or examining physicians can rate out your disability.  This will further allow you to resolve your workers’ compensation case. It is important to remember that if you have multiple body parts or body systems, it is possible that one body part can be MMI and another part not be MMI.   All body parts must be MMI to obtain a complete rating of your Industrial Injury.
  • End of Total Temporary Disability BenefitsOnce you have reached MMI, you are no longer considered to be temporarily totally disabled.  Your condition is then to be considered as permanent.  Therefore, total temporary disability (TTD) benefits are likely to end.
  • Entitlement to VoucherOnce you are MMI and have an Impairment, you might be eligible for a Vocational Voucher.

Can MMI Status Change?

Yes.  A medical condition can deteriorate and necessitate a surgery or procedure.   At that point, especially after a surgery or procedure, an Injured Worker would no longer be considered MMI. Upon recovery, MMI would then be reinstated.

With more than 23 years of expertise in defending workers’ rights, the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation, is here to assist. If you have any questions concerning your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our offices. Please contact us today concerning any workers’ compensation questions or issues.

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