After you become injured due to a workplace accident, your and your treating physician’s goal is for you to reach maximum medical improvement. “Maximum medical improvement” is a term used in workers’ compensation law for the point where you are back to, or as close as you will get to, your pre-accident condition. Treatment to reach maximum medical improvement can include surgery, various check- ups with your physician, injections, physical therapy or occupational therapy. You will often see more than one healthcare professional during your treatment process.
In determining whether an injured person has reached maximum medical improvement, Illinois courts consider many factors such as a release to return to work from a treating physician, medical testimony or evidence concerning the injury, the extent and prognosis of the injury, and whether the injury has stabilized.
An injured person can be released by a physician to return to work with no restrictions, light duty restrictions which the physician eventually lifts or decreases, or permanent restrictions. A physician prohibiting the injured person from lifting more than fifty pounds for a set period of time is an example of a restriction.
Maximum medical improvement is an important factor in determining the extent of your injury and the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. Remember that there are numerous factors in workers’ compensation law which relate to maximum medical improvement for which you should speak with an attorney, such as getting your treatment paid, the number of doctors with which you can choose to treat, and disability benefits to which you are entitled.