Settling under Illinois workmans comp laws - the three most important words

Before you should even begin thinking about what your Illinois work comp case might be worth, you should be thinking about three words: Maximum medical improvement, a/k/a MMI.

There is nothing more important in this world than your health.  MMI refers to you being as good as you can get.  In other words, no more medical treatment will improve your condition and typically, with the possible exception of some therapy or an annual checkup, you are discharged from medical care.

As a lawyer, until we know that you are as good as you can get there is not a realistic way to evaluate the actual value of your injury.  Perhaps you will have permanent restrictions such as no lifting more than 20 pounds; perhaps your doctor will tell you that you need a new line or work; perhaps (and hopefully) you will be able to do exactly what you used to do.  All of these things impact the ultimate value of a case.  But until you are at MMI we have no way to know how this will play out.  Your doctor might hint that you need a new line of work, but until you are as good as you can get we don't know for sure.

We don't give our medical advice, but it is common for clients to talk about maximum medical improvement with their doctors, not from a legal standpoint, but in terms of where they are going with their care.  If you don't feel your doctor is focusing on getting you better or you are not happy with your improvement, you have a right to a second opinion.

One final thought, being at MMI doesn't mean that nothing can be done to get you better.  For example, you may have a doctor that suggests you need back surgery, but you could decide that you don't want it.  It's not uncommon for a surgeon to say that back surgery is needed, but since the patient doesn't want it they are now at MMI.  Usually in those situations the doctor will have tried more conservative treatment first like physical therapy or cortisone injections.  Once surgery is the last resort, if you don't do it then it would make sense that you are as good as you can get.  Clients in those situations are often given permanent restrictions.

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.

 

FCE, IME, MMI, ???

We are happy to answer any questions that people have about Illinois injury cases.  Three questions we get asked a lot are what are the abbreviations FCE, IME and MMI?

FCE- Stands for functional capacity evaluation.  Basically it's a test that has you perform a series of activities throughout the day to determine if you need any physical restrictions before returning to your job or what capacity you can work in.  It's an objective test that measures not just ability, but also effort.  If you are found to have used a bad effort it can hurt your case.

IME- Stands for independent medical examination.  This is the insurance company's right to send you to a doctor of their choosing to see if you are really hurt, what your diagnosis is, whether or not your problem is work related, what treatment is needed or anything else that they want to ask.  It's usually a one time visit.  Many of these doctors are hired guns or almost always favor the employer.  Some are truly independent.

MMI- This means maximum medical improvement or as good as you are going to get medically speaking.  We don't consider settling a case until a client is at MMI because once you settle you can not get any more medical treatment at your employer's expense.  Sometimes you are at MMI, but still need ongoing physical therapy or a yearly exam.  Your doctor determines when MMI has taken place.

If you have questions about any of these terms just let us know.

 

We are workers' compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys.  Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.