When you get injured while working offshore or near a vessel or boat, a term that you may hear is “maximum medical improvement.” While it is a legal term, it is actually a description of your medical condition. Maximum medical improvement, otherwise known as MMI, is a determination made by a doctor that you have plateaued in your medical recovery and that you are unlikely to improve any more than you have. MMI is an important determination not just from a medical standpoint, but also from a legal standpoint because it can impact your entitlement to benefits or compensation that you are receiving because of your maritime injury.
For instance, if you are a Jones Act seaman and have reached MMI, your cure benefits may be suspended. Likewise, if you are a longshoreman who was injured on shore and have reached MMI, your longshore indemnity benefits may be suspended.
Since a determination of MMI can mean that certain maritime injury benefits can be suspended, the company and their doctors can be motivated to make this determination too soon, and before you feel ready. This can also leave an injured worker without a means to pay for additional medical treatment that he/she thinks they need.
This is one of the many reasons that it's essential to know what rights you have after you get injured at sea. If you have any questions about your medical condition after an injury, or if you suspect that your benefits were terminated too soon, please feel free to call and speak with one of our attorneys.