Maximum Medical Improvement is probably the most important term a client in an auto accident or worker’s compensation case needs to learn.
It means that you have Maximally Medically Improved. It does not mean that you are the way the day before the accident.
It’s when the doctor says, “We got you as well as we can get you.” It’s a ramp-up process in my mind. Painkillers, muscle relaxers, go to physical therapy on a neck-and-back injury, for instance.
We may do some injections called facet injections, trigger point injections, or epidurals – that my wife had – when you have babies to try to stop the pain, and finally surgery. And they’ll go as far as they need to.
And if you’re not a surgical candidate, he’ll say, “I’ve exhausted all my options as a doctor.”
You’re at Maximum Medical Improvement.
The question at that point is, “do you have an injury?” and “what does the future hold?”
And I get the doctor, I meet with the doctor to write a letter, “I think your client’s at Maximum Medical Improvement. He has a permanent injury” which you must have in Florida to proceed against the other side, and that “the future is $2,000 a year for the rest of his life or he’s going to need a knee replacement.”
But Maximum Medical Improvement is when you’re through with the doctors.
And I tell my clients, it’s when they look at you and say, “come back if you need me”, not “I’ve got you scheduled for four weeks out.”
That’s Maximum Medical Improvement. And it’s really good sign you’re close to the end of your case.
Maximum Medical Improvement is important in an automobile case because in Florida, for you to present a claim against the car that hits you, you must have one of two things: 1, a significant permanent scar on the dashboard, zipper scar if you had wrist surgery; or 2, you sustained a permanent injury, “I can’t move like I did before. Before the accident, I could do this. And after I injured these ligaments and tendons, I can only go this far.”
A doctor’s got to say it; not me, not you, not the client, not the sister, not the wife; the doctor’s got to say, “There’s a permanent problem.”
That then opens the door for me to go against the other side for four things; unpaid medical bills; unpaid lost wages; pain and suffering; I hurt, I sting and sore; loss of enjoyment in life; I can’t do the hobbies, I can’t read, I can’t sleep, I can’t play with my kids, whatever you do.
But Maximum Medical Improvement is that launching path of your claim.
If you get to Maximum Medical Improvement and you’ve completely healed – which happens and that’s good – there’s no claim.
Then you’re also paid by your insurance company, we part friends, and you owe me no fees.