No one expects to be dealing with a permanent injury, particularly when that injury was work-related. You are entitled to a special category of workers' compensation benefits when you end up with an injury that prevents you from working at your job ever again. Read on to learn more about what workers' compensation does to help those with permanent injuries.
The Independent Medical Exam
The vast majority of workplace injuries allow workers to return to their job after a short period of time, but there are special rules for dealing with:
1. injuries that are clearly permanent, such as amputations, severe burns, spinal injuries, etc.
2. injuries that fail to heal properly after some time has passed
Either way, if your injury or illness looks like it might not heal, a special kind of exam is ordered, known as the independent medical exam (IME). This exam will determine whether or not you really do have a permanent injury. If you disagree with the results of the IME, you may need to seek the help of a workers' comp attorney to help you deal with the appeals process. You should not return to work while you are still in pain, regardless of the ruling from the IME.
Maximum Medical Improvement
One potential ruling of the IME may be maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that your injury is not expected to undergo enough further healing to allow to go back to your previous job. You may still be able to work at some job in the future, however. The IME ruling means that the workers' comp insurance carrier agrees that you have a permanent injury.
A Settlement Offer
The ruling of MMI will result in a change in the way your benefits are paid. You may be offered a lump sum settlement, for example and given the opportunity to learn a new skill through vocational rehabilitation services. It's vital that you get a workers' comp attorney on board with you during the settlement negotiations period. You do not just have to accept what the insurance carrier offers; you have the right to ask for an adequate amount. Another issue that is negotiable is the way the benefits are paid to you. The manner of payment could affect your Social Security benefit payments, so having workers compensation attorney services assist you could result in a more favorable financial situation.
Speak to a workers' comp attorney as soon as you know your injury is permanent and get the support and guidance you need.
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