Loggers suffer from over 8,000 injuries every year. If you are recovering from a work-related injury, you may be informed that you are about to reach the stage of "Maximum Medical Improvement" (MMI). If you're not sure what this is, you should give a workers' compensation lawyer a call.
Transitioning from Temporary to Permanent Disability
When you are injured at work and you file a claim for workers' compensation benefits, you are required to go through a series of steps as you recover. Your doctor will monitor your progress and determine whether you are entitled to temporary partial or temporary total benefits. Then, at some point, you will reach the stage of MMI.
At this point, your doctor believes that your health will no longer improve. If you're lucky, you may fully recover and can simply return to work. However, you may otherwise be considered to have a permanent disability and you will then be entitled to permanent partial or permanent total benefits.
Each state has its own rules regarding what benefits you are entitled to. Your doctor will determine which body parts are injured still and will determine to what extent. For example, after suffering a hand injury when handling a chainsaw, your doctor may determine that you have only 50% of the functionality of your left hand. Then, based on a schedule, you will usually be entitled to 2/3 of your average weekly pay for a number of weeks based on a state schedule that factors in your injury. In some cases, you may be entitled to a permanent pension.
Overcoming Obstacles During the Road to Recovery
Unfortunately, this process is often not that simple. For example, the insurance provider or your employer might suspect that you are not actually injured. This is in part because workers' compensation fraud is a common problem, but some employers may simply not wish to pay higher premiums.
An employer might believe you are not injured if:
- There were no witnesses to your injury
- Your injury is unusual or the result of a complicated incident
- You did not report your injury immediately
- You were injured in the past and have already filed a claim
- The employer offered light-duty work that you still cannot perform due to the injury
Under these circumstances, you will want to hire a workers' compensation lawyer who will understand how serious your injury is and guide you through the process. The workers' compensation lawyer will help you gather medical bills and fulfill all requirements so that your claim is as strong as possible. They will also help you understand the claim process. Reach out to a workers' compensation lawyer like one at Neifert Byrne & Ozga for more information.