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maximum medical improvementWhen you are injured at work, you turn to workers’ compensation to help cover your medical bills and lost wages. When you are in the process of filing your claim or even collecting benefits, there will be plenty of terms thrown your way. One of those is the maximum medical improvement requirement. This is a very important requirement that can determine a lot when it comes to your workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, you need to consider its meaning and how it affects your future.

What is the MMI?

The maximum medical improvement (MMI) is one of the biggest issues in workers’ compensation. There are plenty of questions raised by attorneys and even lawmakers regarding this requirement, and the rules are constantly changing here in Illinois. The amount of fair compensation for an injured worker and the decision whether or not to settle for a final amount will come down to the MMI. The question of the degree of total or partial body impairment is only raised once the MMI has been established. Often, the injured worker and his or her treating physicians will be bogged down with numerous exams and paperwork in order to meet the requirements. If the physician or worker does not fully understand the MMI requirements, he or she may find that the case does not settle or settles for an extremely unfair amount.

The MMI is defined as the point at which the worker’s medical condition has stabilized and further improvement is unlikely – meaning that he or she is at maximum improvement and will not improve any further. Despite medical treatment or rehabilitation, the worker is at his or her best and this is when the case must be settled. Just because the worker has reached maximum recovery does not mean that he or she is fully healed. This could include a worker who is permanently disabled and will never fully recover, or even partially disabled and can only work part-time for the rest of his or her life.

Who Determines the MMI?

This is a very common concern among injured workers – and should be. Only a licensed physician can determine a patient’s MMI. The treating physician will provide the first MMI date, but it is likely that the insurance carrier for the workers’ compensation benefits will request that its own physician conducts an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to determine if the patient is truly at MMI. A copy of that report is then provided to the worker’s treating physician for review, and to the patient as well. If the physician agrees to the report from the workers’ compensation physician, the total temporary compensation is then terminated on the effective date.

The treating physician does not have to agree with the IME. If he or she disagrees with the IME’s findings, the claim is then forwarded to the commission or a judge for a hearing and determination.

MMIs Are Extremely Important to Your Benefits

The MMI is critical in your benefits. It will determine the benefits and compensation that you receive from your workers’ compensation. The MMI is considered the end point and determines what long-term effects you will encounter from your workplace accident. It also determines fair compensation. Therefore, if the IME determines that you have an early MMI date, you may find that your benefits are decreased significantly.

Also, after an MMI is established, a worker could still be totally or partially disabled, but return to work depending on what functions he or she still has available. If the person has severe injuries and is permanently unable to work, then he or she can continue to receive benefits indefinitely or until the time limit by the state has been reached.

Were You Injured? Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Right Away

If you have been injured at work, contact a workers’ compensation attorney at Malman Law right away. Our attorneys are here to assess you with the process of filing your claim and also make sure that you receive a fair IME outcome and that your MMI is accurate for fair compensation. Call us now to schedule a free consultation or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.

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Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

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  • Top Attorneys of North America 2019-2020

  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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