If you have been in an accident and are working with a personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney you may have heard the term “maximum medical improvement.” What exactly does this term mean?
Definition of Maximum Maximum Medical Improvement
In the legal world, maximum medical improvement means “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.”
This means that an injured person or injured worker’s physical state cannot be improved or decreased. Your medical treatment can go no further. While you may still continue to receive physical therapy and see doctors for your medical condition, your basic health functioning has reached a plateau and you do not require further treatment.
Example of Reaching MMI
Imagine you were injured in a car accident. You hurt your neck and back and your treating physician believes that you will require extended physical therapy. After six months, your neck and back have improved significantly, but the back pain has not gone away completely.
An independent medical examination determines that your back will never be completely free from pain. You will now have a permanent partial disability and will be required to use pain medication and a heating pad to alleviate the pain from your back injury. Because no additional medical treatment options are available to you, you have no reached maximum medical improvement.
Why MMI Matters
In the context of a personal injury claim, reaching maximum medical improvement is important because it gives both parties a better way to estimate future medical care, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Before reaching MMI, future costs are difficult to determine because more medical treatment may become necessary. An insurance company will often not want to offer to settle a claim unless this point is reached.
Reaching MMI and receiving your final impairment rating is similarly important to an injured employee who is filing a workers’ compensation claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Experienced Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured because of the conduct of another, you should seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights.