Every year, people in America sustain more than 122 million accidental injuries. Even minor injuries can have a big impact on your life. You may have to take time off work for your recovery or pay a hefty medical bill.
Fortunately, if someone is responsible for your injuries, you can get compensation by making a personal injury claim. However, your lawyer may recommend waiting to reach maximum medical improvement before you make your claim.
So what does this mean, and how does it affect your personal injury lawsuit? Read on to find out everything you need to know about reaching maximum medical improvement before you make an injury claim.
What Does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean?
Reaching the stage of maximum medical improvement (or MMI) means that you have made as full a recovery as possible. However, what this means for each individual depends on the severity of your injuries.
For example, MMI can mean that:
- You have returned to exactly the same level of health that you had before your accident
- Your injuries will not improve anymore with further medical treatment, and your health is not what it was before your accident
- You will still require ongoing treatment for your injuries in the future for a stable recovery
For example, severe spinal injuries can result in permanent paraplegia or quadriplegia. In that case, the damage is irreversible so you will reach MMI when you become stable. Your long-term health will be very different from what it was before your accident.
Who Can Decide That You Have Reached Maximum Medical Improvement?
Your doctor will determine when you have reached maximum medical improvement. They will base this on their observations, examinations, and diagnostic tests.
When they do this, they will also outline any ongoing treatment that you might need to manage chronic conditions caused by your accident. This can include monitoring you to prevent future complications from your injuries. You may also receive a disability status from your doctor.
So how does this affect different types of personal injury cases? Let’s take a closer look.
What Affects Your Personal Injury Claim?
There are several factors that you should consider when making a personal injury claim. These include:
- The severity of your injuries
- The impact that they have had on you practically, financially, and emotionally
- How long it takes you to reach MMI
- The long-term consequences of your injuries
Some of these factors will be evident shortly after your accident. However, you generally have to wait until you have reached MMI to understand the full impact that your injuries will have on you in the future.
Once you have reached this point, you can determine how it will affect your claim.
Waiting For MMI Will Help You Determine How Much to Claim For
Reaching MMI helps you understand the full impact of your injuries, and this is crucial if you want to get a fair settlement. For example, this helps you understand:
- The cost of the treatments you need to reach maximum medical improvement
- The cost of any ongoing care that you will require
- How your injuries are going to impact your ability to work in the future and your financial security
- How your injuries might impact your emotional well-being and relationships
Settlements offered before you reach MMI could be way under the value that you are owed. So it is worth holding off to get a fair payout.
MMI and Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you have been injured at work, you could make a claim using your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. In this case, several things happen when you reach maximum medical improvement.
Most employers will offer you two options: ongoing benefits or a final lump sum payout.
Your MMI will determine how much you need to receive in ongoing benefits (if this is the type of compensation that you choose). For example, your disability rating might entitle you to additional benefits.
If you plan on accepting a lump sum payout, it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer before doing this. Most employers will expect you to sign a release before you receive the payout. This releases them from any future liability surrounding your medical treatment and injuries.
If you have not reached MMI by the time that you sign this, you could miss out on valuable compensation. You may also end up having to pay for your ongoing medical expenses yourself. So it is always worth talking your options through with a lawyer before accepting an injury claim settlement.
MMI and the Statute of Limitations
Recovering from serious injuries can take a long time. However, it is very important to be aware of how long you have to make a personal injury claim.
According to the statute of limitations, you have three years to start legal proceedings from the date of your accident. So the clock starts ticking the minute you sustain your injuries. If you miss this deadline, you will struggle to make a claim at all.
Because of this, it is a good idea to seek legal advice even if you haven’t reached MMI yet.
While you are receiving treatment, your lawyer will help put together a strong case for your injuries. They can then adjust this based on your condition when you do reach maximum medical improvement.
This ensures that you won’t miss your deadline for filing a claim and miss out on compensation altogether.
Get Support With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Today
As you can see, waiting to reach maximum medical improvement after an injury can help you calculate a fair settlement.
This gives you a clear picture of the long-term impact of your accident. So you can make an informed decision when agreeing on a settlement.
Hiring an attorney will help you decide how to proceed with your claim and whether or not you should wait to reach maximum medical improvement. Schedule a free video consultation with RHINO Lawyers today to find out more about our legal services. We’re happy to help!
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.