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Maximum Medical Improvement for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Municipal Employees

Your treating doctor will determine when you’ve reached maximum medical improvement as an injured City of Chicago worker. You might assume that because you’ve provided loyal service or because it’s the government, it will pay your workers’ compensation claims, no questions asked. However, the City is self-insured and it may behave much the way other workers’ compensation insurers would by contesting whether you’re entitled to any benefits or certain benefits. If you are worried about maximum medical improvement for injured City of Chicago workers, you should consult the experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our firm also represents personal injury plaintiffs and we will examine your case carefully to determine all available grounds for relief.

Maximum Medical Improvement for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Determination of when maximum medical improvement (MMI) is reached can make a big difference to your case and the amount of your benefits. Once you get to the point of MMI, your doctor will determine MMI. At that point, the doctor can determine whether you’re totally or partially impaired by your work injuries or whether you are completely recovered.

If you don’t understand what MMI is or your doctor doesn’t understand how to determine MMI for purpose of your ability to work, the case may not settle or it may settle for a very unfair amount. Even if you’ve recovered to the extent possible, you may not be as you were prior to the accident. For instance, if you sustained spinal cord damage in a fall while working for the City, you may find that you have some restrictions in your ability to work that are permanent at the point of MMI.

Effect of an IME Report

An independent medical examination (IME) report can be used as evidence that supports denying your claim or denying certain benefits. There are situations in which an IME report may recommend that a City of Chicago worker go back to work even though a treating physician has determined that the worker is unable to return to the same job or needs significant job restrictions that can’t be accommodated by the insurer. You can ask for a hearing if the City asks you to return to work before you’re physically capable of doing so according to your treating doctor’s recommendations, or refuses to pay you benefits.

Settlement

However, it may be appropriate to settle your case if you’ve truly reached MMI. You may be offered a lump sum settlement in exchange for a waiver of certain rights. The reason it is important to reach MMI is that it is possible you will suffer complications or further disabilities in the future. An experienced lawyer can make sure that you’re protected through this process.

Before settling, the City may likely ask you to go to an IME to determine whether you’ve recovered as much as you will and to determine other issues such as whether you’re left with other limitations. In some cases, the City may be suspicious that you are malingering or not left as badly off as your doctor claims. It may ask the IME doctor to provide opinions about specific questions it has. The IME doctor is not on your side. In some cases, an IME doctor has been chosen specifically because he or she has a reputation for being conservative in treatment recommendations or because he orders workers to resume their ordinary job tasks rather than the light duty ordered by the physician.

Third-Party Lawsuit

Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover the full scope of injuries. If you were injured in a vehicle accident while working for the City, you may be able to bring a third party lawsuit for damages. You’ll most likely need to establish negligence. However, even when you’re trying to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, it is better not to take a settlement before you’re fully recovered.

Hire an Experienced Chicago Attorney

Maximum medical improvement for injured City of Chicago workers can wind up being a contentious issue. It’s important to seek legal counsel for your claim. In most cases, the City has substantially more resources than its employees do and it can deploy these to resist paying you benefits. The tenacious Chicago lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca understand how claims against the City work. We also represent injured workers in Champaign, Quincy, Aurora, and Rockford, as well as Winnebago, Sangamon, Cook, Kane, and Adams Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.