What Does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean in a Car Crash Claim?
After filing a personal injury claim, you will understandably want to expedite the legal process and get the compensation you deserve as soon as you can. Based on this, accepting a quick settlement before you achieve maximum medical improvement may not be prudent. You should have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to help you determine your actual medical condition and calculate the compensation amount accurately.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement in a Personal Injury Claim?
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is that point in an injured victim’s treatment where they have recovered as much as they possibly can, and no further improvement is expected within a reasonable period of time. For instance, if your accident caused injuries leading to permanent disability, you would have attained MMI if you had improved as much as possible. Your physician will provide you with a final prognosis regarding any expected future medical needs.
MMI is an important factor to consider when an injured individual files a personal injury claim. Insurance companies routinely try to settle claims as soon as possible. This is especially true in case of catastrophic injuries or those that lead to a disability. Insurance companies are aware that once you settle a claim, you cannot file for additional compensation. If they allow you to wait till you have achieved MMI, the value of the claim may increase.
Deciding Maximum Medical Improvement After an Injury
Your doctor or a team of doctors will determine whether you have obtained maximum medical improvement or not. They will assess your condition and progress over time. They will base their decision on considering various factors, such as your symptoms, treatment received, medical tests, and level of functioning.
This information is used for determining whether the medical condition has stabilized and if it is likely to improve any further with additional medical treatment. It can take months and longer for an individual to attain MMI. This depends on the severity of your injuries, your continuing need for medical care, and how well you are responding to treatment.
Once you have reached MMI, your car accident attorney will try and negotiate for the best possible settlement on your behalf. It is highly likely that the insurance company would offer a lowball settlement offer before this determination. This is done in an effort to make the claim go away. You should never accept a premature settlement offer without realizing the full extent of your injuries.
Informed counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney can be useful in this type of situation. You should work closely with your lawyer and rely on their advice in settlement negotiations and other important issues.
Impact of Maximum Medical Improvement on a Car Crash Claim
Most car accident victims seeking compensation are not just dealing with the emotional and physical consequences of a serious injury – they are also under a lot of financial stress. Medical expenses and other losses related to a car crash can quickly add up. This is especially true for victims that are unable to resume work because of their injuries.
It can get overwhelming to pay these costs while recovering. You may get tempted to settle too soon. However, there are two important reasons to wait till reaching MMI:
Accurate Value of Your Claim
Your attorney will need enough information to determine the full value of your claim. They can do this only when you have achieved maximum medical improvement. You may require ongoing medical care. There may be new costs and damages, such as:
- Doctor appointments
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pain and suffering
In addition to recurring costs, your attorney must also accurately determine future expenses. For instance, you may need home modifications to make your life more comfortable. It may be difficult to accurately calculate this until your physician provides you with a long-term prognosis.
Further Compensation May Not be Possible
There is no turning back after agreeing to and signing a settlement agreement with the insurance company. You cannot file for additional compensation after accepting a settlement offer. You won’t be able to return later even if new expenses or complications in your medical condition arise.
For instance, if you settle your claim and realize that you need further expensive medical treatment or another surgery, you won’t be able to ask the insurance company for additional compensation. You can make sure that all damages and future losses are included in the final compensation amount by accepting a settlement only after achieving MMI.
Your attorney can better understand the severity of your injuries and the overall value of your claim once you have attained MMI.
Get Legal Representation from a Tenacious Personal Injury Attorney to Maximize Your Compensation
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Whibbs Stone Barnett Turner, PA will relentlessly pursue maximum compensation on your behalf. Our attorneys have helped several clients get the settlement offers they deserve after strategy-driven negotiations.
Our reputation as client-focused personal injury attorneys precedes us. Insurance companies are aware that we are not afraid to take the cases to trial if the defendants don’t offer a fair and substantial settlement amount for our clients. To schedule your free and confidential consultation with our legal team, call 850-434-5395 or reach us online.