When filing a personal injury claim, victims must approach the court with a definitive amount of money they’d like to pursue from the defendant. This number represents medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other hardships resulting from the accident that harmed the plaintiff. However, what happens when the plaintiff is so seriously injured that they will need ongoing care? How is the amount of compensation calculated then?
In these cases, the plaintiff’s counsel must proceed with knowledge of the plaintiff’s maximum medical improvement, or MMI. MMI occurs when doctors determine that an injury victim (the plaintiff) will recover no further from their injuries. Note that this does not mean that the plaintiff has fully recovered from their accident, but rather that their recovery has plateaued and that it can be reasonably assumed that they will improve no further. MMI is particularly important in cases of serious injuries, such as those that involve spinal injuries, burn injuries, or brain damage.
Why is MMI important to seeking compensation from negligent parties? Because it allows counsel, medical professionals, and loved ones to then forecast the ongoing care and resources the plaintiff will need to experience the best quality of life possible. With this information, an accurate and comprehensive suit that includes the costs of this ongoing care can be pursued.
THE DANGERS OF FILING EARLY
Failing to wait for MMI can detrimental to less serious injury claims, as well. To demonstrate, let’s look at the case of “Eric” a general contractor who was hurt by a distracted driver in a car accident.
Eric hurt his hip and required surgery to fix it. He sued for the cost of that surgery and won. However, some time after the surgery, it became evident that Eric would require extensive physical therapy and would not be able to return to his job as a contractor. This is the point at which MMI should have been declared, but, because Eric didn’t wait to take legal action, the cost of his lost wages and physical therapy were not included in this original suit.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, we invite you to contact McMahan Law Firm, LLC today. Our dedicated Dalton personal injury attorneys have recovered more than $15 million for individuals who have become injured, disabled, and bereaved. We are ready to hear your story, review the circumstances of your claim, and, if necessary, take the proper steps to ensure that maximum compensation is aggressively pursued on your behalf.
Start the process today. Contact our firm to request a free case evaluation.