Maximum medical improvement is a term commonly used in workers’ compensation claims, but it also applies after a car crash.
Often, insurance companies will try to get accident victims to accept a quick lowball settlement offer after a car crash. However, accepting such an offer can leave injured victims having to pay for some of their medical bills and other damages out of their own pocket, as the settlement money can quickly run out. That is why it is so important to wait for your maximum medical improvement before settling.
Below, learn more about what maximum medical improvement is, including what it can mean if you seek compensation in a car crash claim.
At Goldberg Finnegan, we have the resources, staff and experience to help accident victims get maximum compensation after suffering serious injuries in a car crash through no fault of their own. We have recovered more than $130 million in compensation for our clients and we are prepared to help you. There are no upfront costs if we represent you. We do not get paid unless we first recover compensation for you.
Maximum Medical Improvement in Maryland Car Crash Claims
Injured accident victims are considered to have reached their maximum medical improvement (MMI) when they reach a stage in their healing process where they are unlikely to recover further. This means that although treatments may still provide relief, the patient is not likely to show further improvement.
Maximum Medical Improvement Does Not Mean a Full Recovery
Reaching MMI may sometimes means a patient has fully recovered, but not always. For accident victims with certain types of serious or life-altering injuries, reaching maximum medical improvement simply means their current state of recovery is unlikely to get any better.
For instance, here are some serious injuries where accident victims who reach MMI may not make a full recovery or return to the way they were before they were injured:
- Back injuries – Victims may reach a plateau where they are no longer improving, but may still suffer ongoing pain, weakness or limitations.
- Spinal cord damage – Car crash victims with a spinal cord injury may suffer pain, paralysis or other long-term or permanent physical issues after reaching MMI.
- Fractures – Broken bones may heal initially, but victims may always experience some weakness or pain in that limb. Additionally, arthritis often later develops following a fracture.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) –TBIs and other types of head injuries are common injuries in car crashes – victims often suffer ongoing mood changes, cognitive difficulties and other consequences long after reaching MMI.
- Loss of limbs/amputated limbs – Losing a limb is a traumatic experience for anyone, and most patients continue to have pain issues even after MMI is reached and treatment has concluded.
Why Reaching MMI Matters in a Car Crash Claim
Accident victims under financial pressure because of dealing with medical bills and other damages may be tempted to accept a quick offer from the insurance company. However, we do not recommend doing this as it almost always ends up costing victims more in the long run. Injured victims are especially vulnerable to these offers if they are unable to work while recovering.
Why Wait to Reach Your MMI?
Waiting to reach your MMI may have a significant impact on the outcome of your claim, because until you reach that point in your recovery:
- Your doctor cannot provide a final diagnosis or an accurate prognosis about future care you may need.
- The attorney handling your claim will not have enough information about your injuries or projected future costs to calculate the full value of your claim.
- You are in danger of not having enough money to cover the costs of all current and future damages you incur before reaching your MMI.
- Once the value of your claim is determined and a settlement reached, you cannot reopen your claim to seek additional compensation. Reaching MMI before settlement negotiations begin helps to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries and other losses.
In short, starting to negotiate a settlement too soon – or accepting that lowball offer from the insurance company – can shortchange you and leave you with an outcome that is far less than the full value of your claim.
How Will I Know When I Reach MMI?
Accident victims always want to know how long it will take for them to reach their MMI and how they will know they have reached that point.
However, each case is unique so there is no definitive time frame to give you. If your injuries are more severe, it could take longer. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you can help your recovery move forward and avoid or limit secondary conditions by:
- Keeping medical appointments
- Following your doctor’s plan of care
- Being diligent to complete physical therapy
- Complying with restrictions or limitations as set by your doctor
Some patients, especially those that were in optimum health before an injury, may recover faster. For others, however, recovery time can sometimes come down to how their bodies respond to the medical treatments.
Call Our Law Firm for Legal Help
At Goldberg and Finnegan, we are ready fight for the maximum compensation possible if you were injured by another driver’s negligence. We understand how overwhelming it can be to deal with complicated legal steps after suffering a serious injury.
Our Silver Spring auto accident attorneys are prepared to do the hard work, so you can maximize your recovery time and focus on your loved ones.
Get started today by finding out if you have a valid case in a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. This is an opportunity to get the answers you need, with no cost or obligation to you.