What is Maximum Medical Improvement & Impairment Rating?
For those who have been injured, questions can often arise on what the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) might be. The legal definition for this terminology is “a treatment plateau at which no fundamental, functional or physiological change can be expected within reasonable medical probability in spite of continuing medical or rehabilitative procedures.”
What this means in normal terms is that the person’s physical state cannot be improved or decreased, and that change in either direction will likely not occur. This methodology is primarily used for personal injury claims. As mentioned previously, it is notate that a treatment plan can go no further, and as such, the treatment is considered to be finished. Although, you may still have assistive devices, medications, physical therapy, and so on; for all intents and purposes, because of your basic health functioning has reached a plateau, you will not require additional treatment.
Example of MMI in Practice
While working at a restaurant, a worker slips on water from clogged drain in the kitchen and hurts breaks her leg. During the initial examination the doctor believes that she will require extended physical therapy for exactly eight months. After the eight-month period, the worker’s leg has improved dramatically, but the pain has not gone away completely.
After an additional examination, the doctor concludes that the injury will never be without pain and a recommendation is made that the worker utilizes pain medication, a heating pad, or other self-induced offerings. However, despite the fact that the worker’s pain will continue, because no other additional treatment methodology is available, Maximum Medical Improvement has been reached.
Importance of MMI
After understanding what Maximum Medical Improvement, one may also wonder why it is important in the first place. In short, MMI can coincide with a personal injury case as it gives an estimate to both attorneys regarding care and damages. On the plaintiff’s end, MMI can better indicate pain, suffering, lost wages, and overall medical costs – all of which will help indicate the future damages of the injury that has incurred. Before reaching MMI, a settlement would be hard to determine as there is still the potential for more treatment to arise and thus, create more potential costs.
Since each state has different rules and guidelines when it comes to Maximum Medical Improvement, it is essential to consider Texas and this legal term. When examining Texas Worker’s Compensation Claims, doctors will have to use the Medical Disability Advisor (MDA) or the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) when deciding when to determine whether or not a patient has reached MMI. Both of these offer a specific timeline and duration for when MMI will be considered.
With this in mind, one should consider asking questions from your attorney or medical practitioner if you have any questions.
An impairment rating that’s assigned after MMI indicates the degree of permanent injury to the body of a worker who is not expected to gain full recovery. This can be used as evidence in support of your damages for any loss of earning capacity claim.
Non-Work Cases of MMI
Not all MMI cases pertain to work injuries. Consider if a person was injured in a car accident and may not fully recover. That person should not file an immediate injury lawsuit, since it’s not yet clear how much his or her injury is worth. What remains to be determined is the person’s maximum medical improvement and the costs of not fully recovering.Filing too early after an injury can reduce the amount of your claim. There may be unforeseen medical costs or work limitations that are not reflected in your lawsuit. Thus, it’s important to determine the point of MMI.
Don’t Settle for Less
The value of MMI is to alert victims that they should not settle their claim for less than it is worth. By defining the extent of an injury and its potential ongoing costs, it becomes possible to claim what an injury is worth — which may not be what an insurance company offers.
Insurance companies are in business to keep your money and make profits, not to dish out settlements freely and generously. An insurer thus will attempt to persuade a client to settle an injury claim prematurely — before the full extent of their injury is apparent.
Some persons eagerly accept such quick settlements without realizing that a more prudent course is to determine MMI and IR and to have an experienced injury lawyer on their side. They often can gain far more in a settlement by waiting to see what an injury truly is worth and then claiming that amount.
With offices in Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, Chandler | Ross, PLLC and our Accident Attorneys are well positioned to provide the most effective, experienced and highly-skilled representation possible with a convenient location near you. Our experienced Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth Car Accident Attorneys can quickly respond to an accident, gather necessary information and preserve evidence in order to maximize your chances of recovery. Don’t wait, and don’t compromise – contact us today to see how we can help you. In most cases, you pay nothing unless we are able to settle your case or win a verdict. Our consultation is free. Contact us now at (940) 800-2500 or email@example.com to schedule your free car accident case evaluation and consultation.