Maximum Medical Improvement and Workers’ Compensation

Charlotte Injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “What is Maximum Medical Improvement and how does it effect my claim?”


If you have been injured in the workplace, there are protections in place to provide compensation for the injuries you sustained. Workers’ compensation is an option for injured workers to receive payment through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. North Carolina passed the Workers’ Compensation Act to provide money to injured workers with the aim of getting them back to work. Pursuing workers’ compensation benefits can be a difficult and confusing process, however, which is why we recommend reaching out to a North Carolina personal injury attorney for help pursuing your claim.


knee-x-ray-Mecklenburg-Iredell-Union-County-Workers-Compensation-Attorney-225x300One reason that workers’ compensation cases can be difficult is because of the different terminology that might come up. One of these terms is “Maximum Medical Improvement,” commonly referred to as “MMI.” Workers’ compensation benefits provides coverage for medical treatment related to the injury. The treatments are supposed to heal the injured individual so that he or she can return to work. However, full recovery is not always possible. There are some injuries that result in lifelong consequences that cannot be healed by today’s medical technology.


Therefore, when a doctor declares that an individual has reached MMI, it means that the individual has reached the end of the possible healing period. It means that whatever injury sustained has become stable and it is not likely that there will be further improvements to the patient’s physical condition. MMI does not mean that an individual is 100% healthy. Many people are left with lingering pain and disabilities.


The doctor who declares that a patient has reached MMI also provides a disability rating, often called a permanent disability rating, or PDD. The PDD is a percentage applied to a disability to injured parts of the individual’s body. At this point, the injured individual has a few different options for how to proceed. Each option needs to be considered carefully because they carry significant legal ramifications:


  • The injured individual can choose to receive a payment that is based on the PDD rating.
  • The injured individual can request there be a second opinion. Whether the injured thinks that there might be additional treatment available or their injury is worse than the first doctor stated, this can affect the disability percentages and compensation received.
  • The injured individual can decide to settle the claim in whole.
  • The injured individual can begin to look for other work that is more in line with his or her current injury and disability.


The MMI is a crucial part of the workers’ compensation process for many people because it is when their injuries are evaluated with a sort of finality that affects the rest of their lives. An experienced attorney, like the personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can help tremendously. Our attorneys will make sure you are fully versed on the ramifications of whatever option you decide is the best for you. We know that an injury, especially a workplace injury, can upend your entire life. As such, we approach each case with compassion and dedication to get the best result possible under the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation, now taking cases throughout the Charlotte region with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe, call us at 704-370-2828.






The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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