The process of recovering from a car crash can be long and tiring. Your days can become a blur of follow-up appointments, treatments, prescription medications, and insurance claims. You’ll learn a lot of new and unfamiliar terms during this time, including “maximum medical improvement.” Maximum medical improvement, or MMI, can play a crucial role in your personal injury claim and your compensation.
Explore the concept of MMI and find out how it may influence your claim. When you’re ready to start your personal injury claim, call McPhillips Shinbaum at 334-262-1911.
Is MMI the Same as Making a Full Recovery?
If this is your first serious injury, the term MMI may seem unnecessarily wordy—can’t you just say that someone has made a full recovery? However, MMI is not necessarily the same as a full recovery. Maximum medical improvement is a medical and legal term that is used to specify a very specific point in a patient’s treatment where they have recovered as much as they are ever going to. Yes, in some cases, this means making a full recovery. But in others, a complete recovery may be impossible or incredibly unlikely. In these situations, MMI is some point short of a full recovery.
If your doctor says that you have reached MMI, it means that you have plateaued in your recovery. You may still have some pain or symptoms, and even physical limitations, but you may have those for the rest of your life. While you may make some minor improvements in the future, they are negligible when compared to the rest of your recovery and their impact on your health.
How is MMI Determined?
MMI is primarily a medical term, so the determination is made by the physicians treating you throughout your recovery. There are numerous factors they use to determine when a victim has reached maximum medical improvement.
One important part of figuring out MMI is a thorough medical evaluation. This involves looking over where your injuries started, what treatments you have tried, how those treatments have impacted you, and what remaining symptoms and limitations you may have. The doctor will also use a range of diagnostic tests to see how much progress you have made, any complications you’ve suffered, and any remaining issues.
It’s also likely you’ll undergo a functional assessment to determine whether or not you have reached MMI. The doctor may look at how you engage in daily tasks, complete your work, care for your children, and fulfill other obligations. This is less about determining if you’ve reached MMI and more about figuring out if you have any lingering limitations, as well as determining any accommodations you may need in the future.
Previous cases similar to yours can be important in your personal injury claim. Doctors may look at the healing timeline of patients with similar injuries, their progress after certain types of treatments, and when they reached MMI.
How MMI Can Affect Your Compensation
Maximum medical improvement plays a massive role in the compensation you receive as a victim. First, reaching MMI is crucial for determining your actual damages. Once you’ve reached MMI, you have a much better understanding of how much money your medical care costs. You’ll also better know what type of care you may need in the future, especially if you have significant limitations that will leave you requiring assistance.
Once you’ve recovered as much as you ever will, you will know if you are able to continue working or what accommodations you will need. This makes it easier for your attorney to calculate lost earnings and lost future income.
Finally, MMI is a key part of your non-economic damages. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress and trauma, and loss of quality of life. You can’t really know the long-term impact of your injuries until you know what the rest of your life will be like.
Start Your Personal Injury Claim with the Team at McPhillips Shinbaum
Our team is ready and waiting to talk to you about your accident, injuries, and next steps. Let’s set up a time to talk about your legal options—just reach out online or call us at 334-262-1911.