What is Maximum Medical Improvement – MMI?
In a typical personal injury case, the first milestone that needs to be achieved is what is referred to as MMI – Maximum Medical Improvement. After client suffers an injury they begin medical treatment. The goal of good medical care and treatment is to improve the patient’s condition continually until the patient is healed or has reached a point of maximum medical improvement. The easiest way to describe this is that during medical treatment improvements are noted and recorded. But when there is no further improvement the medical care and treatment becomes palliative. That means while treatment may help with the pain and symptoms from an injury improvement is no longer expected.
If a personal injury client makes a full recovery, then it is simply a matter of trying to recover financial compensation for medical bills and lost wages. However, in most cases, the client is left with some residual pain, suffering, limitation or lingering effects from the original injury. In those cases, when the treating doctor has determined that the patient has reached maximum medical improvement than the doctor will likely render an opinion that the patient has a permanent injury. Often the doctor will ascribe a percentage to the permanent injury and its effect on the body as a whole. Once the lawyer receives a report from the doctor stating that the client has reached MMI and has sustained a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that it is time to prepare and submit a demand to the responsible party or insurance company.
Maximum medical improvement is one of the hurdles to resolving a case. A personal injury client can make sure that this doesn’t take any longer than necessary by going to all of their appointments for medical care and rehabilitation. A client’s failure to go to therapy and or medical appointments can have a devastating effect on the settlement value of the case. So while neither a client nor a personal injury lawyer has control over when maximum medical improvement is achieved, the client can make certain that reaching MMI is an unnecessarily delayed by the failure to attend appointments and comply with directions from the doctor.Why is MMI So Important for My Personal Injury Case?
You might be wondering why reaching maximum medical improvement is so important for your personal injury case. One reason is that your doctor, who will be one of your main experts, can provide an opinion on what they believe in terms of your permanent injury as well as what your future medical costs will be.
In most Florida car accident cases you cannot pursue a claim for pain and suffering and noneconomic damages unless you have sustained a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability. If your doctor opined that you did not sustain or suffer a permanent injury, then your claim would be limited to your economic losses such as lost wages and medical expenses. Finally, most doctors are not able to provide any opinions on the issue of a permanent injury until MMI has been achieved because the patient could continue to improve or get worse as the treatment plan progresses.
If and when your doctor provides an opinion that you have suffered a permanent injury as a result of a car accident or other type of incident, then the doctor can consider whether you will need future medical care and treatment. Your future medical expenses are an important part of your claim or your case at trial. However, you will need expert testimony, most likely from your doctor, that these future medical expenses are likely to occur and are as a result of the defendant’s negligence. If your medical expert fails to state that these medical expenses in the future are likely to occur, then your claim for future medical expenses could be stricken before ever reaching the jury.Miami Car Accident Lawyers
At the Wolfson Law Firm, our Miami car accident lawyers have been helping injury victims since 1963. We know what to do to help you after your accident. We offer bilingual representation and assistance to people in Miami and throughout South Florida. All you need to do is call us at (305) 285-1115 for a confidential, no obligation consultation.
We proudly offer full personal injury litigation representation to the good people of Miami and throughout South Florida including but not limited to Hialeah, Miami Beach, Aventura, Weston, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Miami Gardens, Homestead, Coral Gables, Kendall, Key Biscayne, Doral, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, North Miami, South Beach and North Miami Beach.