Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is an often-discussed point in personal injury cases, but what is it? More importantly, why does it matter if you are the injured victim and seeking compensation?
Below, Schmidt Kramer explains more about reaching your MMI, why it is important and how it relates to your injury claim.
If you were injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, it is important to understand maximum medical improvement. You may need to file an injury claim to recover the costs of your medical care, lost wages and other related damages.
Contact our Pennsylvania law firm to discuss your situation further. We can answer your legal questions at zero cost or risk to you. Our staff is available to take your call 24/7, and there are no upfront costs or fees if we represent you.
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What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
When your lawyer discusses your maximum medical improvement in a personal injury claim, he or she is referring to a certain point in your recovery. Many injured victims think reaching their MMI means they have fully healed from their injuries and returned to their prior state of health. Sometimes this is true. However, especially in more severe accidents, the MMI is often the point at which your doctor feels you have recovered as much as possible.
Why Does Maximum Medical Improvement Matter to My Injury Claim?
Maximum medical improvement matters to all injury claims. This is true whether you were injured in a car crash, a slip and fall or some other incident resulting from negligence.
The reason for this is that prior to reaching your MMI you are still receiving treatment. As long as you are undergoing treatment for your injuries, you continue to accumulate medical costs. In turn, these additional damages increase the value of your claim.
In short, until you reach your MMI, the full value of your claim cannot be known until you reach this point in your recovery. Agreeing to settle your claim before you reach your MMI will likely cost you a significant amount of compensation.
How Long Could it Take to Reach Maximum Medical Improvement?
The time it takes to reach maximum medical improvement in any claim varies from one case to another. Overall, there are several factors that may determine how long it takes for you to reach your MMI, such as:
- The type and severity of the injuries you sustained
- How well your body responds overall to treatment
- Preexisting medical conditions that may slow your recovery
- How well you follow your doctor’s treatment plan
Who Decides When I Have Reached My MMI?
Your doctors and other health providers assess how you are progressing throughout your treatment. Once they determine the recovery of your injuries is no longer progressing, your doctors may determine that you are not likely to recover further.
This does not mean that you will cease all medical treatment. You may continue to benefit from physical therapy or other ongoing treatment. It simply means your doctor does not feel you will fully return to the state of health you were in before the accident that caused your injury.
For instance, if you suffered a severe leg injury and your leg was amputated as a result. Once you heal from the injury, you may need ongoing therapy to help you learn to use a prosthetic. Even after ongoing treatment, you could continue to experience chronic pain, so you may also need pain management.
Can Anything Help Me Reach My MMI Faster?
There is no surefire way to ensure a speedy recovery. Part of the reason for this is your own genetics. Some people may naturally heal faster. That said, there are some things that can contribute to how fast you may recover.
For instance, to help protect your overall health, it is vital that you make every effort to:
- Attend medical appointments – including physical therapy
- Adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan
- Do not engage in activities that could worsen your injuries
Ignoring Your Treatment Plan Could Worsen Your Injuries
Doing activities your doctor restricts you from could make your existing injuries worse. It could also severely harm your claim. Frequently missing medical appointments leaves room for the insurance company to dispute your claim. They may say that your injuries are not as severe as you say or that they did not happen at all. When someone is injured, they want to get better, which means seeking treatment and following a treatment plan.
What if I Disagree With My Doctor’s Treatment Plan?
If there are things about your treatment plan you are uncomfortable with, there are proper steps you can take.
For instance, if your doctor says you need surgery, you can get a second opinion. To protect your legal interests, however, this is something you should discuss with your attorney. You should not just start missing appointments.
Does Medical Care Stop After Reaching MMI?
That depends on the type and severity of your injuries. For example, if you sustained a spinal cord injury, you may develop secondary issues that require ongoing medical attention. While you will not progress in your recovery beyond a certain point, ongoing treatment can improve your quality of life, help prevent your condition from worsening and provide comfort.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose and recommend what further treatments may be needed after you reach your MMI. Your attorney can calculate and add these expected damages to your claim as well.
Can I Accept a Settlement Offer Before Reaching My MMI?
You could accept a settlement offer before you reach your maximum medical improvement. The insurance company would not have a problem with giving you a quick offer as it is a savings for them. However, we do not recommend doing that as it could cost you thousands in lost compensation.
The reason for this is that once you agree to a settlement and it is finalized, you cannot seek any further compensation for your damages. This means that any additional costs that are not already included in your claim would come out of your own pocket, such as:
- Ongoing doctor’s appointments
- Lost wages if you cannot work
- Physical therapy
- Future surgeries
- Pain and suffering damages
- Lost future earnings
- And more
Do You Need Legal Help After an Accident?
At Schmidt Kramer, we have been helping victims of car crashes, slip and fall accidents and other injuries caused by negligence for decades. This is why we make sure you know about things, like maximum medical improvement, that affect your ability to recover compensation.
We are dedicated to holding at-fault parties liable and seeking the maximum possible compensation for our clients. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Harrisburg today to learn more.
Proven Results. Millions Recovered. (717) 727-1403