Maximum medical improvement (MMI) means a patient has reached a point in their recovery where their condition is unlikely to improve over the next year with or without treatment. Permanent and stationary (P&S) means roughly the same thing.
Below we’ve answered a few questions about MMI and P&S:
How Might P&S Affect My Disability Payments?
If you are receiving temporary disability benefits due to a work-related injury, those payments will probably stop once you reach P&S. At this point, your doctor will decide whether you have any permanent mental or physical limitations—for example, not being able to lift heavy objects or reach overhead. This will be noted in the doctor’s report.
The report will be evaluated to determine your “permanent disability rating,” which is then used to calculate the amount of compensation you will receive in permanent disability benefits.
Given that your doctor’s report will determine the amount of compensation you receive for permanent disability, you should review it carefully. A personal injury attorney can help ensure the report accurately reflects your condition. If there is a discrepancy, your lawyer can take the necessary steps to resolve it, which might involve you undergoing an independent medical examination.
Can I Accept a Settlement Before Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement?
Although you can technically agree to a settlement at any time after the injury, it is often unwise to do so before reaching maximum medical improvement. If your condition is still improving, it will be more difficult for your attorney to approximate a fair settlement figure. Two patients with the same medical condition might not recover at the same speed. And if you’re still undergoing treatment, complications might arise that aggravate your injury, cause a new injury, or prolong your recovery.
Also, it may turn out that your injury doesn’t heal as well as anticipated, especially if you’ve suffered a disabling injury. If your recovery doesn’t go as expected, the medical bills, lost income, and other costs could increase substantially. But once you agree to a settlement with the insurance company, it is unlikely that you will be able to pursue further compensation. An attorney can help you determine whether putting off the settlement negotiations until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement would be a good idea.
How Will My Attorney Prove the Severity of My Injury?
The costs arising from a permanently disabling injury can be exorbitant. The injured person might not be able to earn an income for many years or perhaps a lifetime. They may need ongoing medical evaluations, prescription medications, and domestic assistance. These can add up to millions of dollars over the course of the person’s life.
With so much money on the line, insurance companies will go to great lengths to dispute catastrophic injury claims. You might face a dispute for a multitude of reasons. Even if they concede liability, the insurance company might challenge the severity of your injury or its long-term consequences.
There are many kinds of evidence your lawyer might use to prove the severity of your injury. Examples include:
- Your Medical Records: Your doctor’s report, diagnostic imaging, lab test results, and other records can shed light on your diagnosis and prognosis.
- The Results of an Independent Medical Exam: If you underwent an independent medical exam, the results of that exam will be valuable evidence.
- Deposition from Your Doctor: Your attorney might depose your treating physician regarding the nature of your injury and how it will affect your life going forward.
- Deposition from Other Medical Experts: A variety of medical experts might be deposed depending on the type of injury sustained and its severity. The opinions of a well-credentialed medical specialist often play a critical role in determining the outcome of catastrophic injury lawsuits.
What Factors Could Influence the Potential Value of My Claim?
Personal injury cases that involve spinal cord damage, brain trauma, and other permanent disabilities often result in substantial settlements and verdicts. Although your attorney cannot guarantee to secure a particular outcome for your case, he or she can explain the factors that might influence your potential recovery. Examples include:
- The Permanence of the Injury: The longer it takes you to reach maximum medical improvement, the greater your potential recovery will likely be.
- The Effects of the Injury: Not all permanent disabilities prevent a person from earning an income. The degree to which the injury affects your income-earning capacity and your general wellbeing will influence the damages calculations.
- Your Income Before the Injury: Your income before the accident will impact the lost income calculations, if applicable.
- Your Age at the Time of Injury: A person who suffers a permanent disability at age 20 might incur far greater costs over their lifetime than a person who is 60.
- Whether Your Own Negligence Played a Role: Your financial recovery might be reduced by your own percentage of fault.
- Whether Punitive Damages Are Available: Punitive damages might be recoverable if the defendant acted with fraud, oppression, or malice.
- Whether Your Case Proceeds to Litigation: Although proceeding to litigation might not impact the gross award of damages, it could reduce your net recovery since certain expenses such as expert witness fees might be deducted. Despite this, it may still be in your best interests to enter litigation if the defense refuses to pay a reasonable settlement.
There are many other factors that could influence the value of your claim. An attorney with experience handling catastrophic injury cases will be able to approximate a fair settlement figure given the facts of your case. This may involve complex formulas and input from various experts, and it might be necessary to enter litigation to pursue a fair recovery. You should therefore turn to an attorney who has extensive experience litigating cases that are similar to yours.
Call (562) 206-1939 to Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
Michael D. Waks is an accomplished trial attorney with many years of experience in permanent disability cases. Michael works with a network of carefully vetted medical, financial, and vocational experts who may assist with building your claim. For a free consultation, call (562) 206-1939 or send us a message.
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