Proving permanent disability in a workers’ compensation claim may be difficult.
Some workers’ compensation claims are related to a work-related injury which in time heals, allowing the employee to return to work. However, other injuries are more permanent. If your employer is denying your claim for permanent disability, speak with a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney. The attorney can help you appeal the decision and ensure that you are compensated for all related costs, both now and in the future.
Maximum Medical Improvement
During your treatment for a work-related injury, your physician will be watching for signs that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is when it is determined that continued medical care will have no bearing on the improvement of your injury.
It is important that you understand that MMI does not mean that you are no longer suffering from the injury. It simply means that the physician does not believe there is anything else they can do to improve it. Some employees will fully recover from their injuries, while others will suffer permanent disability.
Workers’ Compensation and Permanent Disability
Disabilities associated with workers’ compensation claims raise a set of questions and problems that the employer will need to consider. For example, if you are unable to return to work, the employer may have to continue paying a portion of your salary for life. There is also the possibility of having to pay for future medical expenses that result from the injury.
If a claim for a disability is denied, you will need to appeal it and present evidence showing the continued extent of your injury. One accepted way of doing this is by participating in a functional capacity evaluation (FCE). This type of test will measure your strength, range of motion, tolerance, and stamina. These tests are used to prove how you can no longer perform the typical duties associated with your job.
Proving Permanent Total Disability
As an example, a Missouri construction worker suffered from severe pain in her hand as a result of a work-related accident. The initial finding was that she had a permanent partial disability, which would still allow her to work under certain conditions. Appealing the decision, the employee underwent an FCE. The findings showed that returning to work under any circumstance was impossible due to the level of pain the employee experienced. As a result, the status was changed to a permanent total disability, allowing her to receive total disability benefits.
Undergoing the FCE was critical in this case to show her inability to return to the workforce. This type of testing can be used in a number of ways in a workers’ compensation claim to help prove that the painful symptoms of an injury are not being exaggerated. Speak with a Missouri workers’ compensation attorney if your claim for a disability is being questioned or denied. Call The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300.