If you've suffered from a workplace injury, you are likely very grateful for the help that workers' compensation provides. At no cost to you, your employer covers your medical bills and gives you the opportunity to stay home and get better while being paid a portion of your normal salary. This valuable benefit from the workers' comp insurance carrier will continue until you are able to return to work, or until you are asked to undergo a particular type of medical exam. To learn more about this turning point in your workers' comp process and your healing, read on.

Independent Medical Exam

Unbeknownst to you, the workers' comp insurance carrier has estimated an approximate date when they predict you will be able to return to work. This date is based on past data of other workers with an injury similar to yours'. If you have not been released by your doctor to return to work at a given time, the carrier may ask you to participate in an independent medical exam. This exam is performed by a special workers' comp doctor with the aim of determining how much more time, if any, you need to be away from your job and to continue receiving benefits.

Maximum Medical Improvement

If the outcome of the exam reveals a need for more recuperation, your benefits will continue. If, however, the doctor finds that your injury is at a standstill and that no further improvement is predicted, you are left with a ruling of maximum medical improvement.

Permanently Disabled

If your condition is not going to improve, you may be faced with a permanent disability. Rest assured that you will still be qualified for workers' comp benefits, but they are likely to undergo a change in the manner that they are paid. You may be offered any or all of the following:

  • A lump sum settlement
  • Structured regular payments
  • Rehabilitation to train for a different job
  • Continued medical care at no cost to you

Additionally, you will be very likely be qualified for Social Security disability payments, if you meet the stringent standards.

Negotiating for Benefits

With the ruling of maximum medical improvement and a permanent disability, you will need to take care in making your next steps. After all, you may never be able to work at a job again, and you need to ensure that you attain enough funds to sustain you for the remainder of your working life. Speak to a workers' comp attorney like those at Walz Law Office for assistance in procuring a successful and properly structured settlement.