Ask a Florida Injury Attorney: Maximum Medical Improvement

If you’re approved for workers compensation in Florida, you’ll be entitled to three main types of benefits. First, you’ll be entitled to medical care until you’re fully recovered. Second, you’ll be entitled to receive replacement wages until you go back to work. Finally, you may be entitled to career rehabilitation if you’re not able to return to your original position. Your Florida injury attorney will make sure that you get the benefits you deserve and that your claim is handled properly.

There are times however, when your state-approved workers compensation doctor determines that you’re ready to go back to work before you’re ready. This determination is referred to as reaching “maximum medical improvement.” In a nutshell, maximum medical improvement simply means that you have reached the point where further medical care will not improve your condition.

Your employer and their insurance company will not be required to pay for medical care beyond this point. In fact, it is at this point that your personal injury lawyer in Orlando will argue for a lump sum settlement for any permanent disability you have suffered.

Here, we will discuss what maximum medical improvement is and how your doctor makes that determination. We will also discuss what happens if you’re forced to return to work too soon. Finally, we will explain how your Florida injury attorney can help get you the extra time you need to fully recover. If you have questions about your workers comp case and you’d like to speak to a Florida injury attorney, just give us a call. You can schedule your free, initial consultation by phone or right through our website.

Not Everybody is Approved for Workers Comp in Florida

As we’re sure you understand, not everybody who applies for workers compensation is approved. You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for benefits. Some of these requirements include the following:

  • your accident must have taken place on company time
  • your accident must also have taken place on company property
  • you must report your accident and injuries immediately to your employer
  • you must submit to a drug test as per company policy
  • you must agree to be treated by state-approved workers compensation doctor in Florida
  • you must comply with your doctor’s treatment plan
  • you cannot be treated by any other doctor
  • You must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident

If you meet these requirements, there’s a good chance that your workers compensation claim will be approved, and you’ll be entitled to benefits. However, you will only be entitled to receive these benefits for a certain period of time.

You Can Only Receive Benefits for a Certain Period of Time

In Florida, you are only entitled to receive workers comp benefits for period of 104 weeks. This comes out to be two years. Once the two years are over, one of two things will happen. Either you’ll return to work and your workers comp claim will be closed. Or your personal injury lawyer in Orlando will argue that you’ve suffered permanent disabilities and are entitled to additional benefits.

Ideally, your employer will agree that you were permanently disabled and offer a lump sum settlement. If this happens, you’ll receive your settlement check in anywhere from 30 to 60 days after your final settlement is signed. If your employer and their insurance carrier refuse to settle, then your Florida injury attorney will file suit on your behalf.

Your Doctor Will Determine When You’ve Reached Maximum Medical Improvement

As stated above, you must be treated by a state-approved workers compensation doctor if you expect to receive benefits. You also have to comply with your doctor’s treatment plan. At some point, your workers compensation doctor will determine that you have reached what is called maximum medical improvement. All this means is that your doctor feels that further medical treatment will not benefit you in any way.

Usually this is after you’ve received any surgeries that you may need and have attended physical therapy for several months. You may need future medical care, but it may be in the distant future and it’s not something that your workers comp doctor can tend to right now. If you feel that your doctor has made this decision prematurely, your personal injury lawyer in Orlando can always get a second opinion. Depending on what the second opinion says, your attorney may ask for an extension of benefits or may decide it’s time to sue for permanent benefits.

Meet with an Experienced Florida Injury Attorney Sooner Rather than Later

If you file for workers compensation in Florida, you’ll be at the mercy of your state-approved workers compensation doctor. Once your doctor determines that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, your claim will be closed, and your benefits will terminate. If you don’t know any better, you’ll accept his determination and go back to work. Unfortunately, some of our clients are forced to go back to work before they’re ready. Their doctor may say they reached maximum medical improvement, but a second opinion proves otherwise. This is why we suggest that you meet with a Florida injury attorney as soon as possible after your workplace accident.

Our attorneys have helped clients over the years who have been forced to go back to work too soon. If you go back to work before you’re fully healed, you can exacerbate your injuries or end up in worse shape than you were before. Our personal injury lawyers in Orlando won’t let that happen.

We suggest you contact our office within days of your workplace accident, and schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with an attorney who’s handled dozens of cases like yours before. They’ll reach out to the insurance company and tell them they want to get a second opinion. Depending on what this second doctor says, your attorney will either request additional time under workers comp were those suggest that you are indeed ready to go back to work.

Since your initial consultation is free, you have nothing to lose.

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