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Maritime Injuries: What Is "Maximum Medical Improvement"?

Working in the maritime industry can be far more dangerous than working in other fields in part due to the fact that you are working on or around large vessels and ships. As such, individuals who work as maritime employees and are subsequently injured on the job are financially protected by federal law. 

However, maritime laws are complex, and when an injured worker’s condition improves, it can be difficult to say what’s going to happen next. Questions you may be asking: “Where do I file my claim? How long can I collect benefits for? What do these benefits include?” 

Below, we go into greater detail about what it means for an injured maritime worker to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and what this could mean for the benefits they are currently or will be receiving. 

MMI, Explained

When a maritime employee is injured at work, they are only able to obtain benefits under either the Jones Act or the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Seamen who have suffered on-the-job injuries may be able to file under the Jones Act, and other maritime employees may be able to file under the LHWCA. 

Once a claim has been filed and physicians have been seen, the injured worker will continue to be monitored by their physician intermittently until they reach what is known as maximum medical improvement. This is the time at which the victim is not expected to recover any further than they already have. As you can imagine, this will vary tremendously on a case-by-case basis. 

But MMI is also important because it contributes to the determination of how long you’ll be able to continue collecting benefits if your claim has been approved and what will happen next for your maritime injury claim.

What That Means for Your Maritime Benefits

Once it has been determined that you have reached maximum medical improvement, there are several routes that can be taken, based on the individual details of your case. 

For example, you may be able to return to work, work with your employer to take on other suitable work responsibilities, depending on how limiting any permanent damage you sustained is; or begin taking advantage of vocational training so you can find gainful employment in another field of work if your injuries prevent you from going back to work as a maritime worker.

Understanding what your next steps should be after reaching MMI is essential to being able to move forward after a work-related maritime injury. Your attorney may be able to assist you in determining how long you’ll be able to continue collecting LHWCA or Jones Act benefits once MMI has been reached in your case.

Meet with a New Orleans Maritime Injury Lawyer

If you have additional questions about MMI and its impact on the benefits you could be or are currently collecting, reach out to an experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyer at the Law Office of Braud & Gallagher. You can find us online or give our firm a call at 1-800-256-5674 when you are ready to schedule your free claim assessment.

About the Author:

Braud & Gallagher

When you need a dynamic, empathetic attorney by your side, The Law Offices of Braud & Gallagher are sure to meet each of your personal injury and offshore injury needs. As skilled maritime attorneys in New Orleans, Braud & Gallagher boast victories that far exceed tens of millions of dollars. You can be sure that you’re choosing the best New Orleans car accident attorney when you’re ready to pursue maximum compensation for the suffering you’ve endured.... View full business profile here: Braud & Gallagher

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