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How Is Maximum Medical Improvement Determined in a Workers’ Compensation Case?

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The Nebraska Court of Appeals took on that question in Scott v. Drivers MGT, (No. A-16-393, June 2017).  Mariatou Scott (“Scott”) had a work-related injury while employed by Drivers Management, LLC. The Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court awarded Scott temporary and permanent disability benefits, but denied future medical care and vocational rehabilitation services. Scott appeals the compensation court’s determination that she reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) from all of her injuries.

Scott got hurt in 2010, when she was stepping down from a bunk bed ladder in the cab of a truck as a student driver for Drivers Management (“Drivers”). She sustained injuries to her back, groin, left hip, left leg, left ankle, and left foot. Between her injury and trial, Scott had dozens of medical tests, visits, diagnoses, and issues. The compensation court entered an award on March 14, 2016. The court’s order awarded Scott a 2% loss of use of the right leg, which entitled to 4.3 weeks of permanent benefits. The court also noted in 2012, one of her doctors said she had reached MMI for her back. The court ordered Drivers Management to pay certain medical bills with credit given for payments already made. The court did not award future medical care, and denied any claim for vocational rehabilitation. Scott appealed the award.

Scott argued that court incorrectly concluded that she reached MMI for the injury to her back and she is still getting treatment. MMI is determined, for purposes of ending payment, is the date when the party has attained MMI from all the injuries sustained in a particular compensable accident. Scott has received compensation from the 2010 injury through 2012, even though the court agreed with one of her doctor’s assessments that there was no permanent back injury in the 2010 accident. Scott did not back up her claims with any evidence to contradict the lower court’s determination. The court found no plain error in the record and affirm the compensation court’s determination.

The Metier Law Firm is committed to assisting people with personal injury claims throughout Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, and we frequently serve as co-counsel to law firms nationwide. Tom Metier recently secured the largest personal injury verdict in Colorado.