Maximum medical improvement is a term many people have never heard before being injured and filing a personal injury claim. While it may not be something you’re familiar with, it's a very important part of the personal injury claim process. In fact, the negotiation and demand for settlement awards does not start until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
Maximum medical improvement is the point at which you have fully recovered from your injuries. Some injured victims may recover entirely and be able to go back to their lives. However, in the cases of serious injury, MMI may be the point at which continued medical treatment is unlikely to improve your condition. This is not to say that you may not need continued medical care to manage the limitations presented by your injury or additional services to have the best quality of life possible.
Why is Maximum Medical Improvement So Important in a Personal Injury Claim?
In most cases, it’s very important to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement before negotiating or accepting a settlement. By waiting until you’ve reached MMI, you can be assured that your settlement will cover all of your medical needs and expected losses.
A personal injury settlement generally includes compensation for medical expenses and lost income. In cases of serious injury, if you reach MMI but will still require medical treatment, therapies, and continued care, you will want to seek compensation for these anticipated future expenses. Further, you can seek compensation for the loss of future earning capacity if your injuries will prevent you from working or going back to your same job in the future.
If you accept a settlement without reaching your MMI, you may not receive enough compensation to fully cover your expenses in the future. You need a full understanding of your prognosis and what to expect in the future before you should accept a settlement offer.
You will not know how much your claim is worth until MMI is reached. Insurance companies often pressure injured victims early on in the process to accept a settlement before MMI is reached. Keep in mind, once you accept a settlement in a personal injury claim, you cannot reopen the claim or go back to seek further damages.
Who Determines When You Reach MMI?
Your doctor or medical team will determine when you reach maximum medical improvement. The length of time this takes varies, depending on the severity of your injuries. In some cases, you may want a second opinion on your prognosis and treatment plan. It’s also possible that an insurance company will disagree and request that you undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME). Your personal injury attorney will guide you through this process to protect your rights and maximize your claim.
MMI and Your Care Plan
Your doctor and medical team will develop a care plan for the treatment of your injuries. It's very important that you follow your care and treatment plan to protect your injury claim. If you fail to show-up to follow-up appointments, attend physical therapy or fill medication prescriptions, an insurance company could claim your injuries are not as severe as you say. If you disagree with the care plan, first discuss with your medical team and then consult with your attorney. It may be possible to seek a second opinion and protect your rights to compensation.
Get Help from Brandon J. Broderick, Personal Injury Attorneys
Working with an experienced, top-rated personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case and ease the worry and burden of dealing with the legal and insurance process. When you hire an attorney from Brandon J. Broderick, you pay nothing upfront. We work on contingent fees that are only collected if we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.