Filing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, stressful, and confusing. There are various terms and concepts to understand, and among those is maximum medical improvement (MMI). In most cases, it is a good idea to wait until you reach MMI before settling your personal injury claim. But what is MMI, and when do you reach it?
If you are considering filing a personal injury claim or have already filed one, contact Slate Stern Law to get help. Our Santa Fe personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you settle for the maximum amount.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
MMI refers to the stage in the healing process where an injured person has reached the highest possible level of recovery. Reaching MMI is also the point at which it is considered unlikely that the person will improve any further, even with additional medical care.
Note: MMI is also used in workers’ compensation cases. Under New Mexico Statutes § 52-1-24.1, reaching MMI means any lasting improvement or further recovery is no longer reasonably anticipated based on “reasonable medical probability.”
Upon reaching MMI, the injured person has either recovered entirely or recovered as much as reasonably expected. Since MMI determines the extent of damages a person has suffered due to their injuries, it helps understand what your post-injury life is going to be like for years to come or the rest of your life.
Who Determines When a Person Has Reached MMI?
A qualified medical professional determines when a person has reached MMI. In most cases, it is the patient’s treating physician. The doctor evaluates the extent of injuries, treatment effectiveness, prognosis, and possible long-term effects. They will establish a treatment plan and consider the possibility of the need for surgery or continued therapy. Once the treating physician certifies that the person has reached MMI, they will provide a report, which will be sent to the insurance company or legal team handling the personal injury claim.
How Does Maximum Medical Improvement Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?
MMI is a crucial part of your personal injury claim. It helps determine the extent of damages sustained and thus affects the compensation you will receive. Until a person reaches MMI, it is difficult or almost impossible to estimate the total expenses they will incur due to their injuries.
After reaching MMI, the treating physician will provide a report detailing the extent of damages, such as the need for continued care, future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. This report is necessary when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or defending your case in court.
Why Should You Wait Until You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement Before Settling?
It is essential to wait until you reach MMI before settling your personal injury claim because you could be settling for less than you deserve. If you settle prematurely and then realize that you need further medical care, you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket. Waiting until you reach MMI gives you an accurate idea of your costs and provides a basis for negotiating a fair settlement.
Contact Slate Stern Law for a Consultation
If you have any questions or need more information about maximum medical improvement, do not hesitate to reach out to Slate Stern Law for a consultation. Reaching MMI is a significant milestone in your path to healing and recovery. Contact our personal injury lawyer to get help in fighting for the compensation you deserve. Call (505) 814-1517 today for a case review.