Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma protects eligible workers when they suffer a work-related injury. Medical care for such injuries is covered up to a point where the worker is completely healed and able to return to work or when they reach a stage called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). What happens after a worker reaches MMI in Oklahoma?
Explaining Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) in OK Workers’ Compensation
When you suffer an injury at work, you are entitled to receive medical treatment until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). According to the helpful Workers’ Compensation Employee’s FAQ, MMI is “When an injured worker has reached the end of treatment and is released from care.” A fuller explanation would be when the injured worker reaches the point where their condition will no longer improve with further medical treatment.
However, reaching MMI does not mean you will no longer require medical care or fully recover from your injury. In Oklahoma, there are a few things that happen after you reach MMI. An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney from The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, can explain matters further and how the laws apply to your specific case.
After completing any required medical treatment, your treating physician will evaluate your medical condition and determine if you have any permanent impairments resulting from your injury. For example, a worker who loses an eye would be considered to have a debilitating injury that is unlikely to heal to its pre-injury state. Maximum Medical Improvement would be when the injury healed and no longer causes pain. However, the injury will never be completely healed (sight will not be restored), so this worker would be assigned an impairment rating.
If you do have permanent impairments, your physician will assign an impairment rating that is a percentage representing your degree of impairment. The higher the percentage, the more severe your impairment.
Assignment of an Impairment Rating
Once your impairment rating has been assigned, the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive is calculated according to set formulas approved by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. This compensation is part of your Workers’ Compensation benefits. The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your impairment and the impact it has on your ability to work.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Reaching MMI
If your injury has resulted in a permanent partial disability, you may be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation services. These services are designed to help you return to work by providing job training, education, and other support. Your employer’s insurance company pays for these services.
You should know that reaching MMI does not mean your Workers’ Compensation benefits will automatically end. If you cannot work or require ongoing medical treatment, you may continue to receive benefits. Your treating physician will continue to monitor your condition and provide medical care as needed.
In some cases, your employer’s insurance company may dispute your impairment rating or the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive. If this happens, a Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Lawyer can help you navigate the appeals system and protect your rights.
Help with Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Reaching MMI is an essential milestone in your recovery from a work-related injury. It is important to understand what happens after you reach MMI so that you can make informed decisions about your medical care and Workers’ Compensation benefits.
If you have any questions or concerns about your Workers’ Compensation benefits in Oklahoma, or problems arise concerning your MMI, impairment rating, and disability compensation, contact The Armstong Law Firm, PLC, in Tulsa. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your case and offer advice on your next steps.