When you file a claim for compensation following a car accident, you want to receive what you are entitled to in your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, knowing what is fair can be complicated when you suffer more than a minor injury. Part of the determination of what you are entitled to must wait until you reach your maximum medical improvement, which is sometimes referred to as your MMI. Here, we explain why waiting for this point of your medical care is crucial to obtaining the settlement that you deserve.
How Your MMI Affects Your Car Crash Settlement
Maximum medical improvement refers to the point in your medical treatment where you have recovered as much as you will from your injuries caused by the car accident, or your doctor is able to give you a final prognosis. This does not mean that you will have made a full recovery if you suffered a permanent disability or other serious injury. It can take months or even a year or longer before you reach your MMI. This is because doctors often begin with physical therapy, pain medication, and other treatments before recommending surgery. Your injury may also be one that requires a lengthy recovery period.
You may want to settle your car accident claim quickly if you have no income while you are off work recovering and your medical bills start to pile up. However, you risk not receiving what you really deserve if you give into this urge. Here’s why waiting until you reach your MMI is important:
- Your experienced car accident attorney cannot accurately calculate your claim’s value until your treatment is completed, you reach your MMI, or your doctor gives you a long-term diagnosis. He cannot know how much your future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages will be until he has this information. You need to include your future damages, as well as your current damages, in your settlement offer to ensure that you receive what you should in your settlement.
- Once you settle your claim, it is a final settlement. This means that you cannot go back to the insurance company later and ask for more money if you discover that your injuries are more serious than you thought. That is why it is critical to wait until you know what your MMI is so that your future losses can be included in your settlement.
Even though you should wait until you reach your MMI to settle your auto accident claim, you should not wait until this point to retain an attorney. You need to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your crash so that he can properly investigate your claim, collect the evidence that you need, and negotiate your settlement when the time is right. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, we urge you not to delay. Call our office today to schedule your free consultation.