If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should know when you have reached your maximum medical improvement (MMI) because it has a real significance in your personal injury claim. First, however, you need to understand what MMI is.
What is MMI?
Maximum medical improvement is the point in your recovery where your doctor has come to the conclusion that your injuries have stabilized. This means the doctor doesn't expect further significant changes in your condition. MMI doesn't mean that you are fully recovered; you may reach it after your recovery or without a full recovery, and you can also reach MMI despite your injuries being permanent. For example, if you are totally paralyzed by a car accident, you may reach MMI without full use of your left hand if the doctor believes you will never regain full use of that limb.
The Significance of MMI
If you are pursuing a car accident case, it's a good idea to wait until you reach your MMI before accepting a settlement offer. This is particularly true if you can afford to wait, for example, if you have some emergency funds you can use in the meantime. This is because your MMI has a significant role to play in your claim. For instance, it helps you to:
Know the Full Extent of Your Injury
You will be able to know the full extent of your recovery only after reaching your MMI. For example, orthopedic doctors have treatment techniques and drugs to help those with broken bones, and in most cases fractures heal conclusively after some time. However, there are also cases where fractures don't heal perfectly. This may be the case, for example, if you have an underlying disease that is making your recovery difficult. You will be able to know whether you are one of those people whose fractures will heal perfectly or you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.
Know Your Full Damages
There are several ways in which knowing the extent of your injuries will help you recover your damages in full. For example, if you know that you have reached your MMI but you haven't recovered fully:
- the defendant should pay for your future medical needs for as long as your injury is projected to last
- the defendant should pay for your future lost earnings
- the defendant should pay for your assistive devices, such as a wheelchair, if you need one
All these are damages that you might miss if you accept a settlement offer before reaching your MMI.