For workers injured, such as through an accident at work, the term maximum medical improvement (MMI) can be confusing.
The meaning of MMI boils down to the fact that the condition is unlikely to improve based on the doctor’s opinion. For a more technical definition, click here.
In layperson’s terms, the person’s physical state cannot be improved or decreased and is unlikely to improve with further treatment.
Examples of MMI in Practice
While working as an outside company representative, a man gets into an auto accident and hurts his lower back. During the initial examination, the doctor believed the injured person would require extended physical therapy for exactly seven months.
After seven months, the person’s back has improved dramatically, but the pain has not entirely disappeared.
After an additional examination, the treating physician believes the worker’s pain will continue, and because further treatment is not calculated to help, maximum medical improvement is likely.
Importance of MMI
After understanding Maximum Medical Improvement, one may wonder why it is an essential diagnosis. In personal injury cases, MMI signals an ongoing issue, but one for which further treatment is not helpful.
With a personal injury case, MMI can mean future issues like pain, discomfort, and disability, yet further treatment is not in the cards.
How Maximum Medical Improvement Impacts a Personal Injury Lawsuit
With MMI, a personal injury lawyer can make a case for future damages but without more medical expenses. Often, the treating doctor is called to testify about the cause, the extent of the injury, and the issues the accident victim faces moving forward.
While the plaintiff also usually testifies about how the injuries affected their lives, the doctor’s testimony can usually help the attorney get total damages for their client.
Texas and MMI
Every state has its method of dealing with on-the-job injuries. In Texas, treating physicians use the Medical Disability Advisor when considering if their patient has reached maximum medical improvement.
The Medical Disability chart offers a specific timeline and duration for when MMI will be considered. For example, if the MDA indicates that the average recovery time for a back injury is 60 days, this is the utilized timeline.
Consider asking questions from your personal injury attorney in Houston or a medical practitioner if you have any questions about MMI.