You may be wondering “why is my personal injury case taking so long?” One reason for a longer-than-desired timeline may be because you have not yet reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). You may have heard this term thrown around by lawyers or insurance adjusters, but what does it mean? In this article, we'll explain what Maximum Medical Improvement means, why it's important, and answer some frequently asked questions about personal injury claims and MMI.
If you've sustained injuries and other damages from an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to legal compensation to help you recover. At Impact Legal, we offer free, no-obligation consultations where our personal injury lawyers will review your case and advise you on the best next steps. To set this consultation up, text or call us at 602-345-1818. You may also request a consultation by filling out this form.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) in a personal injury case means that the claimant has either recovered completely from their injuries or that their condition has become stable enough to get a clear idea of what future costs, treatment, and rehabilitation of their injuries look like. Once MMI has been reached, you, your lawyer, and your healthcare providers will better understand what type of medical care will be needed, what that care will cost, how permanent your injuries are, what disabilities or physical limitations your injuries will cause, at what level you will be able to perform certain work duties, etc. With this information, a better estimate of an appropriate personal injury settlement can be calculated.
You Don't Know Until You Know
An all too common tactic insurance adjusters use is to cut you a check before you know the full extent of your injuries and treatment. This lets them off the hook with a lower price and leaves you to pay for costs that you may not even have known about before you accepted the check. Unfortunately, because of compounding bills and not being able to work, many victims end up accepting too-early checks out of desperation. Before you sign on the dotted line, the best thing to do is consult your personal injury lawyer. You don't want to end up worse off because you accepted a settlement before you had key information.
Once you accept a check, you relinquish any future ability to hold the at-fault driver accountable for your injuries. This means if you accept a check, then your injuries get worse or complications arise, you cannot get more compensation for your accident. The subsequent damages will be left to you to pay.
Reaching MMI will help you calculate the following damages:
- Past, present, future medical bills
- Past, present, future lost wages
- Pain and suffering throughout the recovery process
- Property damage
- Home renovations related to your injury
- The psychological and emotional impact of your injury
The above list is not comprehensive, so be sure to speak with your lawyer about potential compensation available for your specific case.
Be Patient and Trust the Process
While it may be frustrating to wait for your claim or lawsuit to settle, it's well worth it to know the full picture. Trust the process and your personal injury lawyer, and do your part by going to doctor appointments, keeping thorough documentation for your case, and following your doctor's instructions.
If you're just starting your claim, understand it may take a while to obtain a fair and appropriate settlement. Knowing what to expect is generally helpful for claimants. Typically, the personal injury timeline will look something like this:
- Free initial consultation with Impact Legal - Once you set this up by calling or texting us at (602) 345-1818, or filling out our online form, we will set up a time to review the facts of your case, review any related documentation, and advise you on the legal direction we think you should take. This meeting can be virtual if you prefer.
- Development of your legal strategy - Step 2 is all about due diligence. We'll collect all of the evidence, documentation, etc associated with your claim to build a strong strategy to get you the appropriate settlement. MMI is happening somewhere in this stage.
- Settlement negotiations - Before we file a lawsuit, we'll compile necessary documents from the strategy we develop in step 2 and begin communication and negotiation with the insurance company to give them a chance to pay your financial damages without going to court. Usually, your injury lawyer will be able to secure an appropriate settlement for you during step 3. However, if the insurance company is being unreasonable or unfair, we will take it to step 4.
- Filing a lawsuit - In this step, we'll officially file your lawsuit to get you the best possible outcome.
- Discovery - In this step, we will request all evidence from the other side that may support your claim.
- Trial - Frequently, it doesn't get to this step, but if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached outside of court, your case will go to a judge and jury to decide.
Know that every case is different. Keep in contact with your lawyer – he or she is there to answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the process.
Schedule Your Free Personal Injury Consultation
In Arizona, the statute of limitations for injury claims is two years. In this short time period, you may not have had a chance to reach MMI. A personal injury lawyer will know how to address this situation, so it's important to get one in your corner as soon as possible after your accident.
To set up a consultation with our lawyers at Impact Legal, call or text 602-345-1818. You can also fill out our convenient and secure online form here. Our initial consultations are free of charge, and you can schedule it in person (we'll come to you!) or via a remote online call. You won't spend a dime until your case is settled.
While we hope our blog serves as a good resource that provides you with general information about personal injury cases, please know that it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice, and no content on our website creates attorney-client privilege.