Severe injuries sustained while at work may lead to lasting consequences,
such as lifelong pain, loss of ability to perform certain tasks, and a
number of other afflictions. Most likely, if this is the case, you are
receiving workers’ compensation benefits to assist you through the
recovery process while you are unable to work. But if that recovery process
plateaus or you fully recover, your benefits could change dramatically.
When this is the case, a medical professional will declare that you have
reached what is known as “maximum medical improvement,” which
means you cannot recover any further through the help of medicine, rehabilitation,
therapy, or any other form of treatment. This can apply to both physical
and psychological injuries.
Maximum medical improvement is used to determine if you are eligible for
any type of permanent workers’ compensation benefits due to permanent
disability. If you have made a full recovery, then your benefits will
end and you will be eligible to return to work in full capacity.
If you have lost the ability to perform part or all of your job’s
functions your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance
provider will likely work together to determine how you can best be brought
back into a working role, whether in a reduced or entirely different capacity.
If you are forced to change positions as a result of your injuries, your
employer will be required to provide you with new training in order to
accommodate your transition into your new position. Your workers’
compensation benefits will often also ensure your salary is not reduced
as a result of this transition, as well.
How is maximum medical improvement determined?
A medical professional must evaluate your condition on a regular basis
while you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. These periodic
evaluations are reported back to the insurance company that then determines
as to whether or not your benefits should continue, change, or stop all together.
Once your recovery appears to plateau or end and a medical professional
determines that your current condition will not improve, they perform
what is called an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). This is usually
listed as percentage of full-body impairment. Based on those results,
your benefits may be reduced or have a hard end date attached to them.
Pennsylvania law places a hard limit of 500 weeks on all partial disability
benefits, which is any IRE result of under 50%.
An experienced Altoona workers’ compensation attorney can help you
navigate the considerable complexities of your workers compensation claim.
Each claim is different, and a good lawyer can help you build and fight
for your case to ensure that your benefits are not unfairly reduced due
to a number of mitigating factors.
Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt, & Smith
is an Altoona personal injury law firm who specialize in personal injury
and workers’ compensation cases. They have helped numerous clients
navigate through their claims and have a remarkable record of success
in recovering substantial amounts of benefits. Their skilled team all
have years of legal experience practice, and can provide you with the
compassionate and understanding legal advice you need to aggressively
pursue the compensation you are owed.
You can have the legal experts at Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt
& Smith evaluate your case by calling their Altoona law firm at (814)
705-4741 or contacting them online to schedule your initial consultation.