Getting The Maximum Medical Improvement Settlement Amount

Getting The Maximum Medical Improvement Settlement Amount

There is a wide range of damages that a personal injury lawyer can use to collect the most for you if you were injured. Among the factors that are used to determine damages is maximum medical improvement. The Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is a point where you are not expected to experience fundamental, functional, or physiological change even if you receive more medical attention. It is a point where a treatment plan can go no further and is considered to be finished. 

Only a licensed doctor can determine that a claimant’s injury has reached the maximum medical improvement point. In Texas, doctors rely on the Medical Disability Advisor (MDA) or the Official Disability Guidelines (ODG) to determine whether a patient has reached MMI. The MDA and ODG offer a specific timeline and duration for when a MMI should be considered. 

Impairment Rating

An impairment rating is assigned after a doctor has decided that an injured worker has reached MMI. Doctors usually conduct a special physical examination to determine whether the employee has any residual impairment related to the work injury or illness. Patients with an IR of 15 or higher may be eligible for long-term impairment income benefits as compensation for the residual impairment.

 Doctors are required to use the 4th Edition of the American Medical Association (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to determine IR.  You can disagree with the impairment rating assigned by your doctor or the maximum medical improvement date. Patients are allowed to file an impairment rating dispute in such situations.

Importance Of Maximum Medical Improvement

Maximum Medical Improvement Settlement AmountWhen you reach maximum medical improvement, you will finally know what the long-term effects of your injuries are. Personal injury lawyers can use this knowledge of the true nature of damages to negotiate larger settlements for their clients. What MMI does is that it makes it easier for the plaintiff side to accurately determine:

  • Future pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity for future employment
  • Future pain and suffering

It is often difficult to determine a settlement before reaching MMI, because there is still potential for more treatment to be required. More treatment leads to more potential costs. 

How Your Lawyer Can Use MMI

When you have reached the maximum medical improvement point, the consequences of your injuries will be clearer. Your lawyer will use MMI to get the largest settlement or award especially if you waited to reach MMI point before settling a claim or filing a lawsuit. But waiting for your injury to fully heal before you settle a claim is a strategy that can only work if you reach MMI point within two years from the date the injury occurred. This is because the statute of limitation for a personal injury lawsuit is two years. At the MMI point you will also know what type of jobs you will be able to do in the future and what your future earning capacity will be. Without this knowledge, you are more likely to settle for a drastically lower amount.

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