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Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is integral to personal injury cases and can affect how much compensation you receive.

Read on to learn the significance of MMI in personal injury claims and understand why waiting until you reach this stage is crucial before settling your claim. The South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm can help you navigate the complexities of MMI and help you receive fair compensation.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is the point in an injured person’s medical journey where their condition has stabilized as much as possible. In other words, they have reached a state where it is unlikely their injuries will further improve. However, MMI does not imply a complete recovery, as residual impairments may still exist.

For example, if someone suffers nerve damage after a car accident, they may never recover full functionality in the affected body part. For that person, MMI is when they’ve recovered as much functionality as doctors expect they will ever recover.

Healthcare professionals, often in collaboration with legal experts, determine MMI by closely monitoring the progress of injuries, considering the individual’s overall health, and assessing available medical options. Reaching MMI doesn’t mark the end of medical treatments; rather, it indicates a shift toward managing the lasting effects of the injury.

MMIs are essential in assessing the depth of injuries and their long-term consequences. In personal injury cases, this impacts compensation calculations by ensuring that the damage award covers all medical expenses, loss of earnings, and intangible damages such as pain and suffering.

How Does MMI Differ for Every Patient?

Every personal injury accident victim will have a unique MMI determination influenced by the nature and severity of their injuries. This means no two people have the same MMI for the same injury. Your MMI is determined based on your specific medical circumstances.

When a serious injury occurs, especially requiring care from multiple doctors, reaching MMI can become complicated. For example, if you have more than one injury, you will have varying MMIs for each injury. A broken arm could quickly lead to a full recovery, while a spinal injury might result in lasting mobility impairments.

If you see different providers for your injuries, this can also complicate your MMI determination. One doctor may believe you’ve reached MMI, while a specialist may conclude you have a chance at further recovery.

This variance in medical perspectives can lead to disputes, especially when dealing with insurance companies, treatment plans, and compensation.

Why Understanding MMI is Important for Your Personal Injury Claim

Understanding your MMI is crucial to getting full compensation for your injuries in personal injury claims. Insurance companies often base settlement offers on your medical condition’s extent and prognosis. If you settle before reaching MMI, you might receive inadequate compensation for future medical costs, ongoing treatment, or long-term consequences.

For example, the insurance company may assume you will be back at work in a month, and only need two months of physical therapy, following an injury due to a car crash. If you actually need three months of recovery time before returning to work, and six months of physical therapy, you are now paying for most of that out-of-pocket.

Until you know all the treatment you will need, it’s hard to know how much compensation you are owed.

Reaching MMI ensures that your settlement accurately reflects the full extent of your damages. This will provide the necessary funds to cover medical expenses and lost wages, ensuring a fair resolution to your personal injury claim.

What Can an Attorney Do to Help Your Claim?

Although MMI is a medical determination, working with a skilled attorney can help you receive fair recompense for your injuries. At Joye Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers can do the following to ensure your MMI is accurately represented in your final settlement award so you are compensated for your losses:

  • Expert evaluation: We work closely with medical experts to assess your injuries, treatment progress, and potential long-term effects to determine your MMI accurately. This can include advocating for you to get a second opinion or working with specialists to get the most accurate MMI assessment.
  • Future medical needs: Our lawyers can consider future medical expenses, ongoing therapies, and potential complications in your initial claim to ensure your compensation covers all present and future needs.
  • Evidence gathering: We collect and organize evidence like medical records, therapy bills, prescriptions, imaging, and diagnostic reports to build a strong case demonstrating the impact of your injuries on your life and well-being.
  • Negotiations: We aggressively negotiate with insurance companies, using our MMI knowledge and expert testimony to secure a fair settlement and protect your rights.
  • Litigation strategy: If a fair settlement isn’t reached, we can prepare a litigation strategy, presenting your MMI-related evidence effectively in court to maximize your compensation.

Secure Compensation with Joye Law Firm

Reaching MMI and accurately calculating your accompanying damages is vital to receiving appropriate compensation for a personal injury caused by another’s negligence. Our South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm understand MMI’s impact on accurately assessing your injuries’ long-term implications, including financial and emotional damages.

As part of a thorough investigation, we can review your treatment records and consult with medical experts to determine your MMI and fight on your behalf for a fair settlement. Contact us today to start your case with a free, confidential consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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