Maximum Medical Improvement: Why It Matters (And Why Your Attorney Isn't Doing Anything Yet About Your Claim)

It often takes people by surprise that when they've been injured in an accident due to someone else's negligence that their attorney doesn't rush to file any sort of court documents about the case.

In fact, other than notifying any involved parties (like the insurance company of the person or company that caused your injury) that you now have representation, your attorney does a whole lot of waiting.

This should help you understand why there's no rush--and why acting too soon could actually be to your detriment.

What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is a critical date in any personal injury case. It's the point where you've recovered the most you are ever likely to recover.

For example, if you have a damaged rotator cuff in one arm that surgery won't help but chiropractic care can't totally cure, there reaches a point where the chiropractor has restored as much flexibility, movement, and strength to that arm as possible, even though it isn't perfect and certainly isn't what it was like prior to the accident. In other words, your condition is stable.

Why Is the MMI Important?

Until you reach that point, your attorney can only guess about the long-term damage you're going to suffer. Ongoing pain, weakness, or other problems with a body part are part of the negotiations when it comes to getting you a fair settlement. 

Essentially, you deserve compensation not only for the injury itself and the pain and suffering you went through as it healed, but the anticipated future problems you may have as a result of permanent injuries--even if they seem slight.

Can You Really Afford to Wait?

In the vast majority of cases, you really can't afford not to wait on your MMI date, and you generally have the time. Your MMI can increase the value of your claim by showing that a supposedly "minor" injury isn't healing well, for whatever reason, leaving you with lasting problems that you'll probably have to seek chiropractic care regularly for the rest of your life. That's part of the overall value of your claim because the cost of those future chiropractic visits can be estimated and added to your claim. 

It's also important to realize that the vast majority of personal injury cases never reach the point where paperwork starts getting filed in the court. Usually, that happens only when negotiations have broken down or you're approaching the statutory time limits that will stop you from making a personal injury claim if you don't file. (In most states, you have 2 years, but some states, like Louisiana, only give you a year, so it's important to know how much time you actually have to wait to act.)

If you have any questions as to why your attorney doesn't seem to be taking action, the odds are good that he or she has a plan and is waiting on something like your MMI to be reached. However, address your concerns so that you know what's happening and why. Your attorney won't mind, and the process will be a lot less mysterious for you. Contact your local personal injury lawyer, such as The Bernstein Law Firm, for more information.