Maximum Medical Improvement in Personal Injury Cases

Man in wheelchair shown from behind

The term “Maximum Medical Improvement” (MMI) is most frequently associated with workman’s compensation cases. However, it also plays an important role in personal injury settlements. It can help assign a value to your medical damages, for example, and help predict future damages incurred in the form of lost wages and ongoing medical treatment. Let’s take a closer look at the concept of MMI and how it can impact a personal injury case. 

What is Maximum Medical Improvement? 

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) refers to the stage in a person’s medical treatment where their condition has stabilized to the fullest extent possible. At this point, further medical interventions or treatments are not expected to result in any significant improvements. While the individual may still require ongoing medical care for management, their condition has plateaued in terms of recovery.

For example, let’s say Brianna was involved in a serious car accident that caused a catastrophic injury to her right leg. After two surgeries and six months of physical therapy, she still experiences marked weakness of the leg and moderate-to-severe pain in the mornings when first standing. Her doctor declares that, in spite of these ongoing symptoms, she has reached maximum medical improvement. 

At this point, there are no further treatments that will help her get any better than she already is. She may, however, need future interventions to maintain her current status. She will likely need to walk with a cane for the foreseeable future, even though she is only 28. She will also need pain management and a possible third surgery in the future. 

Who Declares MMI in a Personal Injury Case?

A qualified doctor who has been treating your injuries from the start will be the one to declare that you have reached maximum medical improvement. There are several factors a medical provider will use to help decide if you are at MMI:

Medical Progress

Again, MMI is reached when the medical professional overseeing the case believes that the injured person has made as much recovery as can reasonably be expected based on medical knowledge and available treatments. If a plateau in recovery is observed despite ongoing therapies and initial improvement, your doctor may decide you have reached MMI. 

Type of Injury

The type and complexity of injuries will greatly affect the journey to MMI. If your injuries were severe, or you suffered multiple injuries, it may take longer to reach MMI than more uncomplicated injuries. 

Available Treatment Options

Treatment options will also vary depending on the type and severity of the injuries sustained. There may be more options available for certain conditions than others. Your doctor will only declare MMI if you have exhausted all available and reasonable treatments for your particular injuries. 

Do You Have to Wait for MMI To Settle a Personal Injury Case?

No, you can pursue a personal injury case while you continue to receive medical care. However, it is often wise to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement in order to demonstrate the full extent of your injuries. 

Along with the accumulation of actual medical bills, the MMI designation can be used to help a judge assign a value to non-economic damages, such as loss of quality of life and emotional suffering. It can also help establish a prognosis and estimate the cost of future medical care related to your injuries. 

That being said, you want to be sure you are within the statute of limitations for your personal injuries. In Colorado, you have up to two years from the date of your accident to pursue legal action (3 years if the injuries are from a car accident). If you are approaching this deadline, you will want to speak to an attorney and initiate proceedings regardless of MMI status. 

Personal Injury Attorney in Colorado

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence within the state of Colorado, contact David Roth with the Roth Group. He will work with you and your medical provider to ensure you receive a fair settlement for your injuries and emotional losses. Call or go online today to schedule a free consultation.