What Injury Victims Should Know About Maximum Medical Improvement
Victims of serious accidents may never fully recover from injuries sustained in the crash. Instead, the injury victim may reach a certain point in his or her recovery when no amount of additional medical treatment is likely to improve his or her condition. When a person reaches this level of recovery, it is called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
While the insurance company may try to limit your compensation to only past medical care, our car crash attorneys in New Jersey know that you may be eligible for the costs of future care as well and are prepared to fight for the compensation you need. Especially if you have suffered a permanent or long-term injury.
There are no upfront fees to work with us and we offer a free consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help you.
MAXIMUM MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT AND FUTURE MEDICAL COSTS
The length of time it may take to reach maximum medical improvement varies based on the type of injuries a person suffered. For some accident victims, reaching maximum medical improvement could mean a full recovery after receiving the necessary medical treatments, such as corrective surgery or physical therapy. For injuries that are fully healed with the proper medical care, the accident victim may not require future care and therefore may not be eligible for compensation for future medical costs.
However, injury victims who have suffered a permanent injury, such as paralysis, are commonly designated as having reached maximum medical improvement once the injuries are stabilized. Although the person’s injuries are not likely to get better with more treatment, more treatment may help the victim.
In fact, accident victims with permanent injuries who have reached maximum medical care may require a lifetime of medical care, which should be considered when determining the value of the case.
WHO DETERMINES WHEN I HAVE REACHED MAXIMUM MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT?
Generally, the doctor who treated your injuries after an accident is the one who has the authority to determine whether you have reached maximum medical improvement. Sometimes it may be a good idea to get multiple opinions from reputable medical professionals.
For injury victims who have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), your own insurance may require you to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME). However, a designation of reaching maximum medical improvement from this doctor may not be valid, as he or she is likely not the one who has been treating you throughout your recovery process. Plus, these doctors contracted by insurance companies are rarely independent, meaning their diagnosis of your injuries may not be accurate. They may have a bias toward the insurance company’s interest in downplaying the severity of your injuries.
HOW CAN REFUSING SOME MEDICAL TREATMENT AFFECT MY MMI DESIGNATION?
An important concern of injury victims is whether refusing some medical treatment may impact their maximum medical improvement designation. The answer to this may be complicated, as it depends on the type of treatment you are refusing and how much the suggested treatment may help your injuries.
If you are refusing treatments like physical therapy, which could significantly improve your symptoms, your doctor may not be able to label you as having reached maximum medical improvement because there is still treatment that can be done to potentially improve your injuries.
Rejecting an elective procedure with no supporting data on how much your injuries may improve afterward may be different, however. If you choose to forego an elective surgery, such as one that has serious risks with little evidence to support a full recovery, your doctor may be able to designate you as having reached maximum medical improvement without getting the surgery so your case may move along in the legal process.
WHY IS REACHING MAXIMUM MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT IMPORTANT?
One of the most important steps after suffering an injury is to seek the necessary medical attention to have your injuries stabilized. Some injuries may require a diagnosis and extensive treatment.
All this necessary medical attention will likely cost money. Since medical bills are one of the primary issues when determining the value of an injury case, it is important to determine how much your total damages will be when demanding compensation from the at-fault party.
Not knowing how long your treatments for some injuries may last could hurt your chances of recovering compensation for the full value of your claim. Therefore, it is important that you have a full understanding of what your past and future medical expenses are before you send out a demand letter to the liable party.
Due to the importance of factoring in the costs of your future medical care, it is important that you first reach maximum medical improvement before you move on to the next step in the legal process of pursuing compensation for your damages.
Remember that the insurance company may try to make an offer to settle your claim early, but this offer probably does not consider what your future damages may be worth, especially if you suffered a permanent injury.
CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR INJURY CLAIM? CALL US TODAY
If you suffered an injury that you are not likely to fully recover from, you should strongly consider speaking to one of our experienced attorneys about your claim.
Our lawyers are prepared to discuss the facts of your case during a free consultation to determine what legal options may be available to you.
Call (800) 518-0508 to learn more.