Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
Maintenance and cure entitles seamen to coverage for the costs of recovery and medical care for injuries sustained at sea. Unfortunately, these benefits do not last forever. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) serves as the cutoff date, as it marks the point that further recovery is no longer possible.
In medical terms, MMI is when a seaman’s condition will no longer improve with medical intervention. This doesn’t mean the patient is fully healed and ready to return to work; in many offshore accidents, seamen suffer permanent or long-term harm. For instance, if a seaman receives an injury that makes him unable to walk, his benefits will only last until he’s recovered as much as is medically possible.
What Happens If My Benefits Are Wrongfully Terminated?
The key question for injured seamen is who decides when MMI has been reached: the company’s doctor, or your own? A company eager to cut costs might be incentivized to declare that an injured worker is no longer entitled to maintenance and cure. But maritime employers are required by law to pay cure benefits until the appointed time.
Maintenance and cure means that the injured seaman receives compensation for:
- Room and board
- Medical bills
- Therapy costs
- Other necessary medical expenses
Regrettably, many employers are all too eager to stop paying maintenance and cure, in some cases before it becomes unnecessary. If you believe that you have not yet reached maximum medical improvement and were cut off from your benefits, an offshore injury attorney may be able to review your case and defend your rights.
In some cases, a patient is told they will not improve and their health actually ends up becoming worse. Cure benefits may have been terminated and the victim is left without a way to cover their medical expenses. When this happens, the individual may be eligible for additional compensation if the proper action is taken.
If you’re suffering from partial or total disability, or believe your benefits were cut off unnecessarily, we can help. Call (888) 346-5024 for a free case evaluation to discuss your options.