Workers compensation end of healing is important because it determines the end of temporary total disability (TTD) benefits but the start of any permanent partial disability benefits. After a neck or back injury, an employee is often treating medically and unable to work at all. Many of the injured workers we see are off pending cervical or lumbar MRI herniated or bulging disc results or a visit with an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. TTD is paid during the healing period, the period prior to the time when the condition becomes stationary, which is when the condition will get no better or worse because of the injury. Knobbe v Davis, 208 Wis 185 (1932). An employee's disability is no longer temporary when there has occurred all of the improvement that is likely to occur as a result of treatment and convalescence. At such point the doctor can make a determination of any permanent injury and permanent partial disability percentage. Larsen Co. v Industrial Comm, 9 Wis 2d 386 (1960).
Healing periods can be started again, resulting in more TTD benefits, if an injured workers is again temporarily disabled due to the work-related condition. For example, a employee may return to work, the same condition worsens, and then he is taken off work again and has a back surgery resulting in months of healing.
It is very important that the injured worker get an off work slip or excuse every time they see the doctor who has them off work. Attorneys need the written authorizations off work in order to claim TTD benefits for the dates unable to work during the healing period. In Wisconsin, the healing period cannot be established in hindsight by the treating physician after the fact. By the rationale, the insurance company IME doctor cannot go back and cut off the healing period retrospectively.
Employers and workers' compensation insurance carriers are responsible for medical treatment and bills after the workers compensation end of healing, so long as the treatment is to prevent further deterioration or to maintain the existing status of the condition, whether an end of healing is complete or not. Wis. Stats. Sec. 102.42. Of course the treatment must be work-related; it must also be reasonably required to cure and relieve the effects of the work injury or condition.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin get the best results for successful TTD benefits when injured employees get off work slips from their doctor clearly stating the dates the patient is unable to work. We ask the doctor or surgeon when the end of healing is and what are any permanent work restrictions or limitations. A work-related disability percentage allows for PPD benefits.