In Kentucky, you get workers compensation benefits for being off work until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). (FAQ about MMI.) That is when medical care will not make you better. You may not be completely cured at MMI, and could still have a permanent problem. MMI is usually when the doctors are not going to perform anymore treatment, such as surgeries. When you reach MMI the workers compensation insurance carrier is no longer required to pay you Temporary Total Disability benefits (TTD).
If you have a permanent injury after you reach MMI, you usually get additional money,even if you return to work at your old job. In Kentucky, you also have other rights, like future medical treatment, right to reopen your claim if the condition gets worse, and the right to vocational rehabilitation benefits. You have to preserve those rights by signing a settlement agreement, or having a judge award you benefits.
Workers compensation insurance carriers do not like to pay TTD benefits for long periods. If you have been kept you off work for a long period of time, the carrier may send you
to a doctor they pick for an examination. It is likely their doctor will state you have reached MMI, so they can use that as an excuse to cut off your TTD benefits. Whether your doctor or
their doctor is right about MMI is a dispute that has to be decided by an administrative law judge. This is a frequent dispute in workers compensation claims.
I find it common for workers compensation insurance carriers to send clients to a doctor to say they are at MMI if the client has been off work for at least six months. It has also been my experience the opinions that many of the doctors the insurance carriers use do not carry much weight with the administrative law judges in Kentucky. Those administrative law judges generally rely upon the treating physician’s opinion, because that doctor is more familiar with your case and is not usually influenced by the money paid to perform the independent medical examination.
If the workers compensation insurance carrier has scheduled you for an IME, you have already waited too long to hire an attorney and need to hire one as soon as possible.