Maximum Medical Improvement for Injured Airline Workers
Airline workers perform many different types of tasks, each of which carries its own risks of injury. Flight attendants, for example, may suffer falls or blows from falling objects. Baggage handlers may sustain lifting injuries and are at risk of being hit by a vehicle on the tarmac. Airline office workers face the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. When employees are hurt at work and have reached the maximum medical improvement for injured airline workers after receiving treatment, their access to medical care, disability pay, and other benefits may be impacted. If you are employed by an airline and were hurt at work, schedule a consultation with our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys to understand your benefits.What is Maximum Medical Improvement for Injured Airline Workers?
In Illinois, employees are entitled to receive medical care and disability benefits while they recover from a workplace accident. Employees unable to work in the aftermath of an accident usually receive medical benefits along with temporary total disability benefits.
After a period of medical care and rehabilitation, the medical condition or injury may have stabilized such that you’re not likely to improve any more even if you continued to receive medical treatment. Once no more recovery is expected, you have reached maximum medical improvement even if you are fully functional and well. At this stage, you may learn that you’re permanently totally disabled such that you’ll never work again or that you’re partially disabled and can return to light duty work with restrictions at the airline. Of course, the best outcome would be a complete recovery and a return to full-time work without restrictions.Why is Maximum Medical Improvement Important?
Maximum medical improvement has a significant impact in Illinois workers’ compensation cases. It not only addresses the extent of a worker’s medical condition at the point of stabilization, but also impacts the amount of compensation to which a worker is entitled.Settlement
You may be offered a settlement by the airline’s workers’ compensation insurer. Generally, it’s important to wait until you reach the maximum medical improvement for injured airline workers before you accept or decline a settlement. Whether the settlement amount is fair depends on your degree of disability at the time of maximum medical improvement. A workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on whether you have reached maximum medical improvement and how to evaluate the fairness of the settlement offer.Who Determines Your Maximum Medical Improvement?
Only licensed doctors are able to determine when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Your treating doctor can determine when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. She is supposed to exhaust all treatment options and determine whether additional treatments may have an impact. She may conduct functional capacity testing to determine whether your condition leaves you unable to perform certain tasks like lifting heavy objects. A treating doctor determining maximum medical improvement should also consider whether your injury could cause you future disability and make recommendations for any complications she anticipates are likely. If you’re unable to perform any kind of work at the point of maximum medical improvement, you may be entitled to permanent total disability benefits.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company does not agree with the evaluation by your treating doctor, the insurer may ask you to see a doctor of its choosing for an independent medical examination (IME). The purpose of the IME under those circumstances would be to determine whether you’re at maximum medical improvement or not and whether you’re still disabled. If your treating physician and the IME doctor disagree, an arbitrator with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission can hear and determine the case.Consult a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Chicago
If you are an injured airline worker, discuss your situation with the attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent baggage handlers, flight attendants and other airline employees in Chicago, Rockford, Quincy, Champaign, and Aurora, along with Adams, Winnebago, Sangamon, Cook, and Kane Counties. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.