What Is Maximum Medical Improvement and How Will That Affect My Auto Accident Case?

maximum medical improvement

At first, the term “maximum medical improvement” sounds like a great thing. Many people understand it to mean that a victim of an injury has fully recovered from that injury and requires no further treatment. However, this is not the case. While that does, in fact, happen in many cases, that is not what the term means. In this blog, we explain the true meaning of maximum medical improvement (MMI) in a personal injury case, and how it affects your auto accident case.

At Curcio Law Offices, we encourage you to find the best Chicago injury attorney to suit your needs. With over 50 years of experience in the field of personal injury, our firm is here to use our knowledge to your advantage. If you suffered an accident due to someone else’s negligence, we’re offering you a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. To schedule your consultation, call 312-321-1111 today, or visit our website.

What is Maximum Medical Improvement?

Maximum medical improvement occurs when a doctor determines that an injured person has recovered to the fullest possible extent. Further, it means that they are in a stable condition and that they do not require further medical treatment. However, it does not mean that they returned to their state of health prior to the injury. It also does not mean that they will not require more care in the future.

Many attorneys apply MMI in a variety of personal injury cases, including catastrophic injuries or motor vehicle accidents. We take into account several factors, like the extent of the injury, the severity, and the length of time to reach MMI. These three factors primarily impact your case’s value, as well as your awarded damages.

What Happens After MMI?

Many people wonder what will happen to their medical benefits after they reach MMI. Once the victim reaches this point, their doctor usually recommends a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). This determines the capacity of the victim to perform certain work-related activities within their line of work. It compares their health and functionality to the demands of their job. These evaluations are often beneficial to those injured on the job, or those who suffered an injury or illness outside of work and who wish to return to work.

In recent years, FCEs have begun to not only measure victims’ abilities to perform the physical demands of their jobs, but also the cognitive demands. This is extremely important for victims of concussions or traumatic brain injuries. For injuries or conditions that are past normal healing, doctors assign an impairment rating. Then, the Permanent Disability Rating System determines how much money you get for permanent disabilities.

What Determines a Maximum Medical Improvement After a Car Accident in Illinois?

When your doctor determines that you reached MMI, it is important to understand exactly what this means.

Below, we include the possible meanings of MMI as it applies to personal injury cases:

  • The victim’s injuries have fully healed, and they may return to work.
  • All injuries are not completely healed, but the doctor determines that they will not improve further. If the victim’s job is within their physical and cognitive limitations, they may return to work.
  • The injuries are not healed, but the doctor determines that they will not improve further. The victim’s injuries receive an impairment rating, and the patient is eligible for Impairment Income Benefits (IIB).

The impairment rating assigned by your doctor denotes the degree of permanent damage to your body, as well as your eligibility for IIB. The best way to achieve full compensation for your injuries is to hire an experienced Chicago motor vehicle accident attorney.

How Long Does It Take to Reach MMI?

The amount of time it will take to reach MMI is something which varies greatly. Mostly, it depends on the severity of your injuries, as well as how you personally respond to treatments. Additionally, secondary conditions that develop during your recovery period could lead to a longer recovery period. However, prioritizing your health is the most important part of the process.

Below, we provide recommendations that not only lead to a speedier recovery, but also show that you take your recovery seriously:

  • Coordinate communications between your doctors, your attorney, and other involved parties. In order to ensure that all parties receive the appropriate paperwork in a timely manner, we recommend having an injury attorney to help with this part.
  • Keep all doctors’ appointments and follow their instructions as best you can. If you deviate from the recommendations from your doctor, there is a fair chance that your case will be negatively impacted.
  • Remain open to negotiations. Having your attorney work with your employer and insurance company is crucial. Many cases resolve successfully through peaceful negotiation. Experienced attorneys work to maximize your recovery, while also keeping you informed about the process.

How to Calculate Auto Accident Maximum Medical Improvement?

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act fortunately provides injured individuals with temporary total disability (TTD) payments immediately. These benefits cover two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the employee, as well as 100% of their medical care. If a worker has permanent injuries but can still return to work, they receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Additionally, those with permanent injuries who cannot return to work receive permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. 

The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act also assigns values for both the loss of a body part and the permanent loss of use of a body part. We call this the “schedule of injuries.” It is expressed in the number of weeks of PPD a worker can receive. Let’s say you suffered the partial loss of a body part. We calculate your PPD rate by measuring your percentage loss of that body part, then multiply that by the number of weeks the body part is worth. Then, multiply that by your PPD rate.

Contact Curcio Law Offices for a Qualified Attorney

Every single injury case is unique in some way. Even if two or more cases have small similarities, they are not the same case. Working with an attorney who dedicates themselves to injury cases is the best way to ensure that you receive personalized attention. At Curcio Law Offices, our knowledge and experience work not only for us, but also for our clients. We tailor strategies to your specific circumstances, and carefully review the facts of your case. If you or someone you know suffered an injury, you need Curcio Law Offices on your side. For a free consultation, call our Chicago office at 312-321-1111 today.

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