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Maximum medical improvement and blue-collar work injuries

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Blue-collar workers perform their jobs by using their bodies. Whether they work in construction or a manufacturing setting, blue-collar professionals often strain their bodies to perform their work. They also often work in environments with a number of hazards, including heavy machinery and caustic chemicals. As if the increased risk of on-the-job injury wasn’t bad enough, blue-collar workers may suffer worse consequences if they do end up hurt on the job.

While those in other professions may find it easy to continue working while healing from certain medical issues, blue-collar workers may require time away from their jobs. In some cases, workers may not achieve a full recovery.

Not all injuries heal completely

The best outcome to a work injury case involves a worker fully healing after they receive appropriate treatment. Certain injuries, like broken bones, often lead to a full recovery. The worker can regain all lost function with the right treatment.

Unfortunately, workers can easily incur injuries that do not go away with treatment. For example, a worker with a brain injury caused by falling items in a warehouse may have permanent functional limitations. A blue-collar worker with a repetitive motion injury caused by arduous work may never be as fast or strong as they were before they got hurt.

Eventually, medical care may cease having a positive impact on a worker’s condition. In cases where a worker is unlikely to fully heal, a doctor may determine that they have achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI).

At that point, they may not receive any more treatment benefits. There may be an expectation for them to go back to work even though they have lingering symptoms. However, in a blue-collar setting, employers may not be able to accommodate the limitations of an injured employee. In some cases, the worker may need to move into a lower-paid career.

Workers’ compensation can help in those cases by providing permanent partial disability benefits to cover their lost earning potential. Other times, workers may need to appeal the determination that they reached MMI. Another physician might have a different payment plan that could allow them to more fully recover and do their job without consistent injury risk.

Blue-collar workers generally need to be proactive about reporting their symptoms and learning about their workers’ compensation coverage. Understanding workers’ compensation rules can make a major difference for those struggling with job-related health challenges.