How Does Maximum Medical Improvement Impact My Injury Claim?
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Apr 30, 2021 in Personal Injury
If you were injured because of another person’s negligence, recovery may seem frustratingly slow. There are many pressures accident victims face while trying to heal, including mounting bills for your medical care.
Unfortunately, claims take time. The pressure of waiting can tempt accident victims to accept the first offer from the insurance company, even if it is a lowball offer. However, if you want to have a chance of receiving full compensation, waiting until you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the most likely path.
At Rizk Law, we are dedicated to pursuing the maximum possible amount of compensation. We offer a free consultation with one of our Portland-based personal injury lawyers to determine if we can help you. There is no obligation to move forward, but the free information can help you understand your legal options.
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What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Reaching maximum medical improvement is an important stage of your medical care and recovery. What this legal term means is that:
- Your condition has stabilized
- Your condition is not likely to improve beyond this point
- You may still receive ongoing care
- Your physician may diagnose the need for future treatment as required
In some cases, the point of maximum medical improvement is when an injury has fully healed. However, it is usually the point when an injury has stopped healing. The victim has not necessarily returned to his or her former state of health, but there is not likely to be further improvement beyond that point in the recovery process.
Why it is Important to Reach MMI Before Settling?
Waiting to reach your MMI after an accident may be frustrating, but it is in your best interests to do so. Whether you were injured in a car crash, slip and fall or another situation, MMI impacts the outcome of your claim, because:
- It is only at this stage that an experienced lawyer can accurately determine the full value of your claim. The total value should include the costs for treatments you have had, future anticipated care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Once you have accepted a settlement, it is final. There is no going back to recover more compensation for additional lost wages or further medical treatment later.
Attempting to negotiate a settlement before reaching MMI is likely to result in a settlement offer for far less than the value of your claim. This outcome often leaves accident victims having to pay additional costs on their own. It is in your best interests to speak with a lawyer who understands how insurance companies operate and is experienced in handling claims like yours.
Who Determines When MMI is Reached?
Only your treating physician can determine when you have reached your MMI. Your doctor makes this decision based on an assessment of your:
- Current condition, including whether you are continuing to make improvements
- Diagnostic tests
- Medical records
Follow your doctor’s plan of care
Injured victims who receive care immediately and follow their doctor’s care plan often achieve a more optimum outcome compared to those who do not.
Ignoring your doctor’s orders, such as failing to go to physical therapy and follow-up appointments, could also significantly hurt your claim. The opposing side may argue that you did not keep your appointments because your injuries were not as severe as you claimed.
How Long Does It Take to Reach MMI?
Each case is unique. The length of time to reach MMI varies and could be weeks, months or longer. This phase of your recovery largely depends on the severity and type of injuries you sustained.
Could My Injury Get Worse Over Time?
Unfortunately, some injuries can worsen or lead to other medical conditions over time. For example, if you fractured a bone, you could later develop arthritis and need surgery.
Call for Your Free Case Review Today
Trying to deal with the legal process while recovering from a serious injury leaves injured victims feeling overwhelmed and financially vulnerable. Insurers know this and use it to their advantage by tempting accident victims with a quick settlement offer. Unfortunately, these offers are typically for far less than the claim’s full value.
At Rizk Law, we have been handling cases like these for years. We know all too well the tricks that insurance companies use to devalue and deny claims. Our experienced lawyers have obtained millions in compensation on behalf of our clients. Read testimonials from former clients to learn more about the quality of service we provide.
Getting a case review is easy and completely free. Call to schedule yours 24/7. While there is no obligation to move forward, if we do represent you, there is nothing to pay up front. We do not collect fees for our services unless you get paid.