When you get injured in an accident, it can take just a few weeks to heal. However, if you experience a severe injury, it could take months or years to heal. In some cases, you may be living with your injury for the rest of your life.
When your doctor is treating you, they will use what’s called maximum medical improvement (MMI) to let you know what your recovery will look like from now into the future.
Then, you can use the information the doctor gives you about your MMI to calculate damages in your personal injury lawsuit against the person who caused your accident. This can help you and your Corpus Christi personal injury attorney decide how much is a fair settlement offer in your accident case.
Keep reading to learn more about how your maximum medical improvement can affect your Texas personal injury case.
The definition of maximum medical improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is a term that describes what your doctor thinks is the most recovery you’ll ever reach after experiencing an injury or illness from an accident. Your MMI doesn’t refer to your full recovery; it just describes what the doctor thinks is the furthest you’ll go in your recovery.
For example, if you were paralyzed in a car accident and you’ve undergone surgery and worked with physical therapists for over a year and you’re still not 100% cured, your doctor may conclude that you have reached your maximum medical improvement and will be living with paralysis injuries for the rest of your life.
How maximum medical improvement works in personal injury settlements
Typically, when a person suffers from an injury as a result of an accident, they will get medical treatment for a certain period of time until they feel better. Then, they will contact their personal injury lawyer to pursue a settlement during which their attorney will figure out how much the damages will be.
For example, if you get whiplash from a car crash, you may have to get massages and participate in physical therapy for a few months, costing you $2,000 in medical bills. You also have to take off 10 hours of work to go to these appointments. If you make $20 an hour, that’s $200 in lost wages. With these damages in mind, your injury lawyer could negotiate for a fair settlement of at least $2,200.
But when a doctor gives you an MMI for a life-long injury like paralysis, this changes how the settlement works. If you are permanently injured or you require more treatment, then you will need compensation for future medical care or expensive living modifications.
Injured accident victims who have reached their MMI will receive an impairment rating. This number specifies how much compensation the victim could continue to get after he/she has reached their MMI. After two years, a patient is considered to have reached their MMI automatically in Texas.
After these two years, the MMI impairment rating will determine the length of time that the injured victim can continue to receive compensation. They will get three weeks of compensation for each percentage of their impairment rating. For example, if the victim is 60% improved in their recovery, they will continue to receive benefits for 180 more weeks.
What to do when you get injured after an accident
No matter what kind of accident you’re involved in, it’s important to collect evidence such as photographs of your injuries and of damages to your car. If there were witnesses, ask them for statements of what happened. If you were involved in a car crash, then call the police to take a police report.
Ask the other driver for their insurance company name and policy number as well. And tempting as it may be, don’t accept cash offers from the other driver to settle the accident damages without reporting to the insurance company.
With any accidents, you need to go to the hospital for a full evaluation and get X-rays done. This will ensure you receive medical attention for any invisible/internal injuries, such as a spinal injury that can lead to paralysis and a resulting maximum medical improvement limit.
Tell the doctor about all of your injuries and any pain you’re experiencing. Take your prescription medicine and go to follow-up appointments for as long as it takes to get better.
If an insurance company calls you to offer you a settlement, don’t take it. It’s not going to be high enough. Insurance companies are known for providing low settlements and not giving people what they deserve. Instead, call an experienced Corpus Christi personal injury lawyer to negotiate a full and fair offer for your damages.
Are you facing maximum medical improvement? Call The Burkett Law Firm to negotiate a full settlement.
When you need a trusted personal injury attorney with experience handling maximum medical improvement cases, The Burkett Law Firm is here for you. If you think your impairment rating is too low, we’ll investigate and do our best to get you the highest settlement possible.
Every case is personal at The Burkett Law Firm. We know how devastating it is to suffer through a serious injury and we’ll use our team of medical experts, professional investigators and over 40 years of experience to help you get a fair offer. Don’t wait: Contact us online or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.