Law Office of John A. Hedrick, PLLC

What is Maximum Medical Improvement and Why Does It Matter?

Maximum Medical Improvement, or MMI, is the point in your recovery from a work-related injury at which your authorized treating physician certifies that you have recovered as much as you are ever going to. Of course, many workers’ compensation claimants enjoy a 100 percent recovery — but many others don’t. It can be difficult to finalize your workers’ compensation claim until you have reached MMI.

What Happens After MMI?

Once you reach MMI, you are likely to be faced with the following options:

  • You can accept Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) rating payments, if you are determined to be partially disabled. A PPD rating is an estimate of the severity of your disability that ranges from 1 percent to 99 percent (100 percent is reserved for total disability). The higher your disability rating, the higher your payment will be.
  • You can begin a job search. Your authorized treating physician will impose work restrictions that will affect what type of job you will be eligible to apply for. Being assigned a PPD rating does not necessarily preclude working, and neither does the receipt of PPD payments.
  • You can enter into settlement negotiations with the insurance company. In North Carolina, this type of settlement is known as a “Clincher Agreement.” This type of agreement relieves your employer from any further workers’ compensation liability to you (with respect to the particular claim you negotiated, not necessarily with respect to any other claims) in exchange for a one-time lump sum payment to you that is designed to meet your current as well as future needs.

Never is the assistance of a workers’ compensation lawyer more important than when you are seeking to negotiate a Clincher Agreement. If you underestimate the amount of your future medical needs, or if you fail to negotiate effectively, you could end up in financial trouble years from now (depending on the severity of your injury), with no way to demand more compensation.

Take Action Today

It can be very difficult to calculate the true value of your workers’ compensation claim, and a mistake could cost you a lot of money. If the value of your claim is substantial, you are definitely going to need a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer. Never fear — Raleigh attorney John A. Hedrick has been representing workers’ compensation clients for decades, and he is board certified as a Specialist in North Carolina workers’ compensation law.

Contact John A. Hedrick as soon as possible — by telephone at 919-626-3895, by email at or by completing our online contact form to schedule a free claim evaluation.

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