What is Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)?
When discussing personal injuries (especially in the context of workers’ compensation claims), you’re likely to hear the term “maximum medical improvement” tossed around, and for good reason: it’s a vital consideration when trying to reach a fair settlement. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) refers to a state in which a patient’s condition can no longer be improved significantly; once you reach MMI, your medical options are presumably exhausted, and whatever condition you’re in will become a long-term state. For many, MMI is achieved after making a full recovery—this is the case for many minor and major injuries alike; if you broke a bone, you’d reach MMI once it had fully set and was no longer paining you, for example.
However, MMI can also refer to stagnation or chronic injuries as well; if that broken bone also permanently damaged your nerves, resulting in severe, incurable chronic pain that needs constant medication to alleviate, you’d still have reached MMI, even though you’d be under ongoing treatment. MMI just means that there’s no longer anything science can do for your condition, whether that be because your condition no longer exists or because it’s especially resilient. Furthermore, note that just because you’ve reached MMI, you aren’t immune to future complications or degrading conditions; MMI just means things won’t get better, although they can still get worse.
How Does MMI Affect Your Compensation?
Arizona’s partial disability compensation laws dictate how much you’ll be paid precisely, which will constitute a portion of your newly lost earnings due to diminished ability (or inability) to work, although you’ll only be paid for a temporary period. If your disability is more severe, you may qualify for permanent disability compensation, which will grant you more extensive compensation. Either way, it’s important to talk to a serious injury attorney in Arizona to learn more about your options.
You should always wait to reach MMI before agreeing to a settlement of any variety. Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-542, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years; this means you have time to focus on recovery before deciding on a final settlement package. This is vital, as once you accept a settlement, that’s it—you’ll be on your own for any bills not included in the settlement. Waiting to negotiate until you reach MMI helps you paint an accurate picture of all prior and ongoing damages you’ve suffered.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney in Arizona
When you’re hurt in any type of accident, it’s important that you talk to a legal professional as soon as possible to avoid being scammed out of a fair settlement. Your attorney will discuss whether or not you might need compensation for ongoing treatment as part of your settlement package, and will help you accurately evaluate all of your damages so that you aren’t blindsided by bills in the future. On top of that, lawyers can take the tedium of the case process off of your hands, giving you more time to focus on a smooth, speedy recovery. If you’re worried about maximum medical improvement after an injury, give ELG a call at (623) 877-3600 to talk to one of our Phoenix personal injury lawyers; we can answer any questions you might have and guide you through your legal options.