How Maximum Medical Improvement Impacts Your Car Crash Claim

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 23, 2021 in Car Accidents
Updated on April 24, 2024

young male with prosthetic leg in physical therapyAfter getting hurt in a car crash, it is important to understand more about maximum medical improvement and the impact it could have on a claim. Plaintiffs who jump the gun and settle before this point in a claim often end up with too little money to pay for their medical care.

PKSD discusses maximum medical improvement, how it affects car crash claims and why injured victims should wait to reach this point before agreeing to a settlement.

Our experienced car accident lawyers in Milwaukee have decades of experience handling car crash and other personal injury cases throughout Wisconsin. Call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn more and discover your legal options. We are ready to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.

Millions recovered. Call  414-333-3333 to get started.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement in a Car Crash Claim?

Maximum medical improvement is a bench-marking point in an injured victim’s recovery process. Essentially, it means you have likely recovered to the fullest possible degree from your car crash injuries.

Why Reaching MMI May Be Different From Making a Full Recovery

While some accident victims are fully recovered from their injuries by the time they reach their MMI, that is not always the case. This is where many people get confused. Reaching your MMI does not necessarily mean you have made a full recovery.

It is at this stage of recovery, however, that your doctor will be able to provide you with a final diagnosis and a prognosis regarding any anticipated medical care you may need in the future.

Here are just a few examples of common car crash injuries where victims may reach MMI, but never fully recover:

  • Spinal cord injuries: Victims may recover to a certain point, but may experience ongoing consequences, such as pain or paralysis.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: Head injury victims may continue to suffer from ongoing cognitive, mood or other issues that impact their daily life, even after reaching MMI.
  • Broken bones or fractures: The bones of injured victims may heal, but they could develop arthritis in the future or have ongoing reduced weakness in that limb.
  • Amputations/loss of limbs: Suffering the loss of a limb brings many traumatic consequences. Victims may always suffer from pain issues and may never return to some activities or careers they once enjoyed.

How MMI Impacts Your Car Crash Claim

Understandably, many car crash victims are not only dealing with the physical and emotional consequences of a serious injury, but they are also under a lot of financial stress. Medical bills and other losses from a collision quickly add up, especially for victims who are unable to work because of the severity of their injuries. Trying to figure out how to pay these costs while recovering can be overwhelming and may tempt many victims to settle too soon.

That said, here are two very good reasons to wait to move forward until after you reach your MMI:

Waiting for MMI Helps Your Attorney Accurately Value Your Claim

Before reaching your maximum medical improvement, your attorney will not have enough information to accurately calculate and determine the full value of your claim. You are probably still undergoing medical care and as such will continue to have new costs and damages arising from:

  • Doctor appointments
  • Surgeries you may need
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • And more

In addition to these ongoing and recurring costs while you are receiving care, your attorney will also need to determine the value of your future damages. This calculation will not be accurate until your doctor provides your long-term prognosis.

A Settlement Finalizes Your Claim, No Further Compensation is Possible

Once you agree to and sign a settlement agreement, there is no turning back. Your settlement outcome at that point is final. What this means for you is that you cannot later return if new expenses arise to file a claim for more money. Waiting to reach your MMI helps to ensure that all damages to help you recover, as well as any future losses, are included in your settlement.

Who Decides That I Have Reached My MMI?

The physician and other medical professionals involved in your care make that determination as the result of diagnostic tests and medical examination.

How Long Could it Take to Reach MMI After a Car Crash?

There is no set standard for how long it could take for you to reach your MMI. It could take several months or a year or more. The length of time typically depends on:

  • The type and severity of injuries sustained
  • How the injured victim’s body responds to his or her medical treatments
  • Whether a patient continues to follow the doctor’s plan of care
  • Whether the injured victim develops any other secondary conditions that delay his or her recovery

Get Legal Help From One of Our Qualified Attorneys

The last thing you want to do after suffering injuries caused by another’s reckless or negligent actions is to leave your future to chance. Settling too quickly after a car crash injury almost always ensures you will not get fairly compensated for your medical costs, lost wages and other losses.

At PKSD, we understand how overwhelming recovering from a car crash can be, and we have seen firsthand the suffering that injured victims go through to get their life back. Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to helping injured victims obtain the most compensation possible – we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.

You can get started today by scheduling a free case review – with no obligation to move forward. We are ready to listen to you and find out more about your situation. If you have a case and we represent you, we will work hard to help get you the compensation you need.

Experienced Lawyers. Working for You. 414-333-3333

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