What Is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) In My Personal Injury Case?
If you are injured, whether it is from a defective product, a trucking accident, a car accident, or a slip and fall accident, you will spend a significant amount of time recovering from your injuries. You will likely visit doctors, physical therapists, and other health care providers. These providers will treat your injuries and help you rehabilitate, with the aim of regaining physical or cognitive functioning and eliminating ongoing pain. The ultimate goal, of course, is to fully recover, so that you are back to feeling 100% better and being the same person that you were before you were injured.
But, often, a person will not fully recover from their injuries. This can happen with respect to any bodily injury from any accident. It especially can be true if the injuries sustained are severe. Chronic pain, loss of function, and ongoing cognitive impairments can last a person the rest of their life, no matter how much treatment, rehabilitation, or therapy.
Thus, there will be a point in a person’s treatment and recovery where doctors and other providers will determine that a person is not going to see any significant additional improvement in their condition, even if the person continues treatment. When that point is reached, that person is said to be at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Reaching MMI does not mean that you have returned to the same state of health you were in prior to being injured. What it means is that you have reached a stable condition from which no further significant improvement will be made, whatever that condition may be. Nor does it mean that you will not need continuing treatment into the future. For example, you may need continuing treatment to maintain the state of heath you have achieved since being injured.
When will I reach Maximum Medical Improvement?
The length of time it takes to reach MMI will vary greatly depending on many factors: the kind of injuries sustained; the severity of the injuries sustained, the nature, extent, and quality of the treatment received for the injuries; how your body responds to treatment; whether preexisting health issues exist; whether you are compliant with doctors’ and therapists’ orders concerning care and treatment; and development of secondary conditions or complications from the injuries or from treatment such as surgery. All these factors and others will affect how long it takes to reach Maximum Medical Improvement.
Who will determine when I reach MMI?
Your doctors and health care providers will be the ones to determine when you have reached MMI. Your treating doctors are the ones who are in the best position to determine if future treatment will provide additional improvement. Your treating doctors may recommend surgery, additional therapy, or other treatment in the belief that this additional treatment will provide benefits and improve your condition.
Sometimes it is unknown whether additional treatment will in fact improve a person’s condition, but when a treating doctor believes that future reasonable treatment will provide meaningful improvement, a determination that a person is at MMI will be delayed until after that treatment is rendered and recovery has been made.
How is MMI important to my personal injury case?
If you have a personal injury claim arising from your injuries, MMI can be an important issue in terms of when the best time is to file a claim. It is also important to determining the value of your claim. Sometimes it is best to wait until a person has reached MMI before bringing a claim, negotiating a settlement, or filing a lawsuit. However, because there are strict deadlines for filing lawsuits, a claim or lawsuit may need to be filed before MMI is reached. Also, future treatment options and expected outcomes many be recommended, known, and understood before MMI is reached, allowing claims, settlements, and lawsuits to be brought and completed even before MMI is reached.
But you should not accept a settlement from an insurance company until you have talked with an experienced personal injury attorney, whether you have reached MMI or not. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your specific situation and be able to let you know when the best time to bring your claim and seek resolution.
The extent and severity of the injuries, the amount of time it takes to reach MMI, and residual problems and future treatment needs after reaching Maximum Medical Improvement will impact how an insurance company will value your personal injury case. For example, if you have reached MMI and have permanent impairments or ongoing pain, you will have future damages that will need to be evaluated and accounted for. Those future damages can be a significant aspect in the valuation of your case. If MMI is delayed because you have not followed your doctor’s recommendations for care and treatment, the value of your personal injury case may be impacted. So, following the recommendations of your health care providers as you recover from your injuries is extremely important.
Contact Whalen Hersh LLP Today!
One of the most important steps that you can take after being hurt in an accident, whether it is a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or some other accident, is hiring a qualified Colorado personal injury lawyer. An experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer can explain concepts like Maximum Medical Improvement and give you all the information you need to make informed decisions about your case. At Whalen Hersh, we pride ourselves in providing exceptional legal representation to our clients. Our Colorado law firm exclusively represents personal injury plaintiffs in a wide range of matters, from auto accidents and product liability cases to wrongful death. We are here to fight for your rights.
Schedule your complimentary consultation today by calling Whalen Hersh at 720-307-2666 or simply telling us a little bit about your case using our confidential online form.