If you were recently involved in a car accident and sustained serious injuries, you are likely considering your options for seeking financial compensation.
For most people who get hurt in motor vehicle collisions, the first course of action for obtaining financial compensation involves filing an insurance claim.
Depending upon the specific facts of your case, you may file a first-party claim with your own insurance company or you may file a third-party claim through the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Regardless of how you decide to file an insurance claim, you may run into the term “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI.
In short, MMI could affect the total amount of your recovery. If you search for more information with terms like “maximum medical improvement car accident,” you are likely to find many different narratives about how injury victims were unable to obtain compensation once they had reached MMI. We want to provide you with more information about maximum medical improvement and how it might affect your car accident claim.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Maximum medical improvement is simply a term that is used to define the point at which an injured person cannot get any better with additional medical treatment. A physician or healthcare provider has the expertise to say when a patient has attained MMI. Yet just because a person has reached MMI does not mean that the person must stop receiving medical treatment.
Rather, once a person reaches MMI, it is clear that the person cannot recover any further with additional medical attention. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, MMI “means the condition is unlikely to improve substantially with or without medical treatment.”
It is important to understand that “recovery” in the medical sense is distinct from terms like pain management. Even if a person continues to undergo treatment for pain management for the rest of his or her life, it may be clear that the person will not recover any further from his or her injuries.
How Maximum Medical Improvement Can Impact Your Car Accident Claim
In most personal injury lawsuits, including car accident claims, it is important for the claimant or plaintiff to reach maximum medical improvement before negotiating a final settlement or reaching a verdict. Until a person has attained MMI, it can be difficult to predict the total cost of damages to come.
For example, if Mary is injured in a car accident in Yakima and suffers a traumatic brain injury and a spinal cord injury, she may immediately file a claim. After she files the claim, she may continue receiving medical treatment, but it might not be clear to her physician that one of those injuries was much more severe than the physician originally believed.
As a result, Mary could end up requiring expensive surgeries and rehabilitative therapy costs in order to recover as much as
Under Washington law, it is also important to know that insurance companies are not allowed to limit payments under Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policies only to the amount of treatment needed to reach MMI. Insurance payments must include treatment beyond MMI.