What is Maximum Medical Improvement – MMI – in a Car Crash Claim?
Reaching maximum medical improvement in a car crash claim is an important milestone in an accident victim’s recovery. It is also when attorneys will have the information that they need to accurately calculate the full value of that victim’s claim. At High Stakes Injury Law, we have extensive knowledge of all types of car crash claims. We also know why waiting to reach MMI matters if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. Below, learn more about how waiting to reach MMI can impact the value of a car crash claim. If you have been injured in a car crash claim caused by another driver, we are ready to help. Contact our law offices to schedule your initial consultation and get started today.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement in a Personal Injury Claim?Maximum medical improvement is a legal term referring to the point when doctors determine the injured individual is unlikely to improve further, even with more treatment. Although medical care can still help provide relief for the victim, there will not be any noticeable improvement.
Does Reaching MMI Mean an Injured Car Crash Victim Has Fully Healed?Many people mistakenly believe that reaching MMI means the victim has returned to his or her pre-accident state and has fully healed. While this may be true for some car crash victims, it is not the case for many, especially those with life-altering injuries. Some examples of injuries where victims may reach MMI but not make a full pre-accident recovery include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Compound fractures
- Burn injuries
- Loss of one or more limbs/amputations
- Severe scarring or disfigurement
Why Does Waiting for Maximum Medical Improvement Matter to My Claim?Prior to reaching your MMI after a car crash, your attorney only knows the value of your current and past medical costs. This amount does not include the cost of ongoing medical care you may need, both now and in the future such as:
- Future surgeries that may be needed if a medical condition worsens
- Treatments for secondary complications caused by the original injury
- Doctor appointment costs for ongoing medical care
- Emotional counseling to help victims manage their changed lifestyle
- Home modifications a victim may need to help with mobility issues
- Lost wages if a victim cannot work due to his or her medical condition
Once You Accept an Offer, Your Settlement is FinalIt is important to understand in a car crash claim, that once you sign a settlement offer, it is a done deal. You cannot reopen your claim later and ask for more money, except in rare situations. If you accept an early settlement offer before you reach MMI, it is unlikely you will have funds for your future medical care.
Who Decides When I Have Reached My Maximum Medical Improvement?Your treating physician will determine when you have reached your maximum medical improvement. He or she will know when you may be nearing that point based on whether you are still actively improving. To verify this, your doctor will examine you thoroughly and may also run diagnostic tests as needed.
How Much Time Does It Take to Reach MMI After a Car Crash?Every case is unique. It may take longer for some spinal cord injury victims to reach MMI, based on the location of the spinal cord injury. There are many factors that impact how long it may take a victim to reach MMI, including:
- The extent of a victim’s injuries – more severe injuries require more care and take longer to heal
- Whether the injured victim obeys doctor’s orders and continues his or her prescribed care plan
- How the victim’s body responds to treatment – genetics and health play a role in recovery time
- Whether the victim has delays in his or her recovery due to the onset of secondary medical conditions