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How Do Doctors Determine When Healing of an Injury Has Ended?

talking to doctor in officeOnce healing of a work injury stops, doctors can determine if the worker has a permanent impairment and if he or she can return to work without limitations.

Below, learn more about what it means when healing has stopped and how your physical condition after healing stops can affect whether you continue receiving benefits. If you have any further questions on this matter or need help filing your claim, contact Berry, Smith & Bartell to schedule a free consultation.

When Does an Injury Stop Healing?

Workers’ compensation benefits from a work-related injury continue until your injury has stopped healing. Your injury may completely heal and allow you to return to work without limitations. 

However, sometimes injured workers reach maximum medical improvement and they are not back to full health. In other words, even if you still receive medical care, your condition is not expected to get any better than it is now. Once you reach this point, the degree of your total or partial body impairment can be calculated to determine your eligibility for any further workers’ compensation benefits.

If you have reached maximum medical improvement and are still physically limited, you may be considered permanently disabled and eligible for benefits even after returning to work. If you are unable to work at all, or in a different job from the one you used to work in, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits.

Because the point of maximum medical improvement is determined by your treating physician, it is important that you select a physician who will thoroughly assess your medical condition and your physical abilities.

Returning to Work

Sometimes injured workers may decide to return to work before their physician authorizes this. However, there may be problems with returning to work too soon after an injury. Once you return to work, the workers’ compensation insurance company is legally permitted to stop paying your temporary disability benefits. Therefore, you should carefully consider whether it is a good idea to return to work before you do.

You cannot be forced to return to work if your treating physician says you are unable to work without jeopardizing your recovery.

Temporary Disability Benefits

Total temporary disability benefits are paid to you when you miss work for more than three days or are hospitalized due to a work-related injury or illness. Total temporary disability benefits are equal to two-thirds of your gross wages, subject to state minimum and maximum limits. You will receive your first payment of these benefits within 14 days of the date that your doctor says you were unable to work.

These benefits continue until one of the following occurs:

  • Your doctor determines that you can return to work in some capacity
  • You return to work in some capacity
  • Your doctor determines you have reached maximum medical improvement

These benefits will stop after you have received them for 104 weeks.

Permanent Disability Benefits

If your physician determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may then begin receiving permanent disability benefits. The amount of your benefits is based on a medical evaluation of your injury that is scaled from zero to 100 percent and these benefits are paid on a set schedule.

If you are unable to return to work, you may be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits, valued at up to $6,000 to pay for retraining or education.

Contact Our Firm for Assistance with a Workers’ Comp Claim

If you were injured at work, it is important that you have capable legal representation on your side. The Bakersfield workers’ compensation lawyers at Berry, Smith & Bartell may be able to help you file a claim or appeal if it was denied.

We have the resources to investigate your claim, work with your physician and determine when it is safe to return to work. Our lawyers are available to discuss your rights and legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation.

We only get paid for our services if your claim is approved, so there is no risk in calling us.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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