The following case illustrates the applicability of MCC prior to maximum medical improvement.
1st DCA 1999), reveal that MCC shifts focus once a claimant reaches maximum medical improvement.
These cases make clear maximum medical improvement is of extreme importance in the application of MCC.
Considering an employer/carrier may only apportion disability benefits after maximum medical improvement, the logical question would be: "Can an employer apportion out the unrelated causes that represent less than 51 percent?
Prior to maximum medical improvement, the question is "what is the MCC of the existence of a temporary disabling aggravation?
The more difficult analysis is created when the qualitative analysis is combined with compensability of the resulting disability or need for treatment after maximum medical improvement.
If, however, the industrial accident is at least 51 percent responsible for the resulting disability and need for treatment after maximum medical improvement, will the employer/carrier be fully responsible for the resulting disability?
The doctrine allows for the possibility of partial avoidance of liability to the extent that a cause unrelated to the industrial accident contributes to a claimant's resulting disability after maximum medical improvement is reached.
However, our qualitative analysis shows how new case law makes MCC a hurdle to awarding benefits after maximum medical improvement, in that such an award becomes an all-or-nothing proposition.
On the one hand, claimants will receive compensation or benefits before maximum medical improvement so long as the industrial accident is the MCC of the existence of a temporary disabling aggravation.
Also, an employer is entitled to a hearing to address the termination of temporary disability payments if an employee has reached maximum medical improvement.
Temporary disability payments continue when the injured employee reaches maximum medical improvement, a permanent impairment rating is given, and compensability is not contested by the employer until the employee either accepts or rejects an offered job at a wage equal to or greater than the position within medical restrictions, the parties agree to waive the holding of a benefit review conference, or a benefit review conference is held and the report is filed, whichever occurs first.