Being injured because of someone else’s negligence is terrible. While any money might seem like a relief when you’re juggling hospital bills, car replacement costs, and more, things could get worse if you accept an unfair settlement. However, if you don’t fully understand what the aftermath of your accident will truly cost you, you might not know a fair settlement when you see one.
Our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to helping you get justice. That’s why we’re passionate about sharing tips to help San Diego personal injury victims. One important tip that can drastically benefit your case is: wait for MMI. What is MMI? Why does it matter? Keep reading to find out!
What Is MMI?
MMI stands for Maximum Medical Improvement, and it is the point in your injury recovery where doctors can best understand what your medical future will look like and what permanent disabilities you might have. It doesn’t mean you have fully recovered, but it does mean that doctors can tell you what the rest of your recovery journey will look like – including what treatments or therapies you will need and what they will cost.
The California DIR defines MMI as when “your condition is well stabilized and unlikely to change substantially in the next year, with or without medical treatment.”
Why Can Waiting For MMI Help Your Case?
Unfair personal injury settlements often happen because the accident victims don’t know how much they can rightfully claim. Waiting until you reach MMI helps you not only understand how much you can reasonably claim but also provides a way for you to get evidence for this amount. At your point of Maximum Medical Improvement, your doctors or other medical professionals can sign documentation that explains the full scope of your injuries, how long you will need treatments and therapy, and the continuing cost of your injuries in the future. Waiting for MMI helps you put a dollar amount on your future injury recoveries and necessary medical care. This dollar amount gives you something tangible to use as evidence in your case.
More than just your direct medical expenses, waiting for MMI can help you understand and document other required expenses resulting from your injuries. For example, if a doctor determines that for a period in the future you won’t be able to perform household cleaning because of your injuries, you have evidence to claim compensation for house cleaning services.
Waiting for MMI can provide evidence for more than just your economic expenses. In San Diego personal injury cases, you have the opportunity to claim compensation for both economic expenses and non-economic expenses. Economic expenses are those losses caused by the accident that you would have to pay money for. Non-economic expenses are losses that don’t have an objective price. For example, if you are permanently scarred or disfigured because of the accident, you are entitled to claim compensation accordingly. Waiting until MMI can give you the evidence you need in the form of documentation from a doctor saying that your disfigurements will not heal.
How To Leverage MMI In Your San Diego Case
MMI can help you prove to a judge that you deserve a certain level of compensation. Before your MMI, it can be very difficult to calculate how much your claim is worth – in both economic and non-economic damages. Without assessing the extent of your injuries and expenses, you might be convinced to settle for far less than what you’ll need to cover your damages. And without signed statements from a doctor about what your future will look like, it can be hard to convince a court to give your adequate compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and more.
The only risk of waiting until your MMI is that sometimes it can put you up against your statute of limitations. In California, you have two years from the date of your injury to file a case. Talk to your attorney about waiting for MMI before filing your claim and whether or not that would put you in danger of missing your statute of limitations deadline.
Let’s Get Started
If you’ve been injured in San Diego because of someone’s negligence – whether it was a car accident, a construction site accident, a slip and fall, trucking accident, or any other kind of personal injury accident – the lawyers at Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates are here to help. We can help you work with your doctors to better understand what your case is worth and how to claim the most compensation possible. Serving the San Diego area, our team is here for your peace of mind during a stressful time.