2018 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 52 - Workers' Compensation
Article 1 - Workers' Compensation
Section 52-1-24.1 - Date of maximum medical improvement.
As used in the Workers' Compensation Act, "date of maximum medical improvement" means the date after which further recovery from or lasting improvement to an injury can no longer be reasonably anticipated based upon reasonable medical probability as determined by a health care provider defined in Subsection C, E or G of Section 52-4-1 NMSA 1978.
History: 1978 Comp., § 52-1-24.1, enacted by Laws 1990 (2nd S.S.), ch. 2, § 8.
Effective dates. — Laws 1990 (2nd S.S.), ch. 2, § 153 made Laws 1990 (2nd S.S.), ch. 2, § 8 effective January 1, 1991.
Further medical treatment. — The fact that worker would need future medical care for his continuing disability was not inconsistent with a determination that he had achieved his physical maximum medical improvement (MMI). Smith v. Cutler Repaving, 1999-NMCA-030, 126 N.M. 725, 974 P.2d 1182, cert. denied, 126 N.M. 532, 972 P.2d 351.
Upon refusing surgery, maximum medical improvement reached. — A doctor's report indicating that, in the absence of surgery, a worker had reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), provided a sufficient basis for a worker's compensation judge's conclusion that the worker had reached MMI as of that date. That conclusion was not affected by the doctor's testimony that a physical conditioning program could likely decrease the worker's physical impairment from 18% to 14%, since the worker would still probably only be able to engage in the same type of medium-duty employment for which the doctor previously provided a release. Rael v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1994-NMCA-017, 117 N.M. 237, 871 P.2d 1, cert. denied, 117 N.M. 215, 870 P.2d 753.
Worker not penalized for declining surgery. — A worker cannot postpone indefinitely a determination of maximum medical improvement (MMI) by declining surgery. Once a physician has made a determination of MMI, discontinuing temporary total disability and calculating a permanent partial disability does not subject the worker to a Hobson's choice ("Have surgery or starve") or penalize him for declining surgery. It is merely a determination that a worker has reached a plateau of medical stability for the foreseeable future. Rael v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 1994-NMCA-017, 117 N.M. 237, 871 P.2d 1, cert. denied, 117 N.M. 215, 870 P.2d 753.
Evidence insufficient to find maximum medical improvement. — Finding that worker had reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) for his secondary mental impairment based on doctor's report that worker would reach MMI within six months of the conclusion of the litigation was unreasonable in view of internal inconsistencies in the report and other evidence. Smith v. Cutler Repaving, 1999-NMCA-030, 126 N.M. 725, 974 P.2d 1182, cert. denied, 126 N.M. 532, 972 P.2d 351.
Law reviews. — For survey of 1990-91 workers' compensation law, see 22 N.M.L. Rev. 845 (1992).