There are many things that could affect your personal injury claim–lack of evidence, exceeding the statute of limitations, or not having an excellent personal injury lawyer. However, there is another equally important factor: maximum medical improvement (MMI).
What does this mean, and how does it affect your personal injury claim? Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at The Weinstein Firm discuss all that in this article.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement affects all types of personal injury claims, including car crashes, slip and falls, workplace injuries, and motorcycle injuries. Maximum medical improvement refers to the point where an injured person’s condition has been stabilized.
This does not mean that the injured person is now in a perfect state of health or will not require further medical attention. Instead, it is a point at which the doctor has determined that their condition will not change. Patients who have reached this point may still need further medical attention, but their condition will not seriously improve.
There are some cases where it is practically impossible for the plaintiff to return to their previous state. An example is an accident that causes permanent paralysis to the individual. The person may need a lifetime of care after reaching the maximum medical improvement.
Who Determines When You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement?
It’s important to note that there is no universal measure for maximum medical improvement. Every injury is different, and everyone reacts differently to injuries and treatment. Therefore, knowing someone who got to maximum medical improvement in three weeks does not guarantee that you will experience the same.
The only person capable of determining when you reach MMI is your doctor or medical team. They arrive at this conclusion following diagnostics and based on their expert experience. When your doctor decides that you have reached MMI, they can advise you on taking the proper steps. For example, they can recommend surgery or inform you of the possibility of a relapse.
How Does MMI Affect Your Personal Injury Case?
The damages you receive in a personal claim are directly related to the extent of your injuries. First, rushing to file a claim before reaching MMI could devalue your claim. At that point, you are not entirely sure of the extent of your injuries.
In addition, you don’t know how much it will cost to treat your injuries, so you are likely to undervalue your claim. Finally, more injuries may be discovered after you have settled your claim, and your claim cannot be revisited if it has been resolved.
Another aspect of this is providing the defendant with an avenue to devalue your claim. Your response to your doctor’s instructions can affect the time it takes to reach MMI. If you do not attend physical therapy or skip visits to the doctor, the defendant can argue that your injuries are not so serious.
Some people start settlement negotiations before they get to MMI. As we’ve pointed out, it places the plaintiff at a considerable disadvantage and leaves him open to exploitation. This is one of the reasons you should hire an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer. A competent attorney will wait until you have reached MMI before starting settlement negotiation.
The insurance company may also move quickly to get you to settle before you have the chance of speaking with your lawyer, and we always advise against it. Always ask for time to talk with your lawyer before accepting any settlement offer. An equally important thing to remember is to not give a recorded statement to an insurance company. Again, anything you say to them could be misconstrued and used against you in settlement discussions.
Contact The Weinstein Firm for Expert Personal Injury Representation
Working through a personal injury case after an accident can be challenging. Ideally, you should be focused on recuperating, but you also don’t have the luxury of waiting until you’re fully recovered before filing a claim. Also, insurance companies may try to take advantage of your desperation by making you accept an offer that is often lower than what your case is worth.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this yourself. At The Weinstein Firm, our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience representing personal injury clients and helping them get maximum compensation. Our success is linked to our commitment to treating our clients as humans and not just a case file. As a result, we work on a contingency basis and only get paid when we win. We’d love to help you, so give us a call today.