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Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) in Personal Injury Cases

Seth Harris

Last modified on February 20, 2024

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) in Personal Injury Cases

The road to recovery after an accident can be long and uncertain. But there comes a point called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), where your medical condition stabilizes. Reaching MMI is a significant milestone in your recovery and your personal injury case. It means that while you might not be back to your old self, your condition won’t see significant changes moving forward, even with additional medical treatment. This point is critical for determining fair compensation, as it helps to assess the lasting effects of your injuries.

What Is MMI, and How Do You Know You’ve Reached It?

After an accident, the recovery process begins with immediate treatment for your acute injuries, followed by ongoing care. Depending on your situation, ongoing care may include surgeries, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Your doctor will make regular assessments and adjustments to your treatment plan during this period, aiming for the best possible recovery.

As time goes on, improvements in your condition may become less noticeable and more gradual. Reaching MMI occurs when your medical condition has stabilized to the point where your doctors expect no significant further recovery. This doesn’t mean you’re fully healed or that treatment stops; rather, it means your condition is unlikely to improve substantially. Once your doctor says you’ve reached MMI, they can evaluate you for any permanent impairments or disabilities, which is crucial for finalizing your compensation claim.

Factors That Determine You’ve Reached Maximum Medical Improvement

Healthcare providers use a range of factors to determine whether your injuries have stabilized after an accident. Those factors may include:

  • Stability of Medical Condition: Doctors look for a point where your condition is not expected to improve significantly with further treatment.
  • Response to Treatment: Your doctor will evaluate the effectiveness of your treatments and your response to them to see if additional treatments could lead to significant improvement.
  • Plateau in Recovery Progress: A consistent lack of progress in your recovery over a certain period indicates that further improvement is unlikely.
  • Completion of Treatment Plan: Whether you have completed all recommended treatments, surgeries, and rehabilitation programs without significant ongoing improvement is a significant factor in an MMI evaluation.
  • Permanent Impairments: Identification of any permanent impairments or disabilities that will not improve over time helps determine whether you’ve reached MMI.
  • Your Functional Capacity: An assessment of your ability to return to daily activities or work duties can indicate whether you have reached maximum improvement.
  • Time Passed Since Injury: The amount of time elapsed since the injury occurred, considering typical recovery timelines for similar injuries, can be a prominent factor in these decisions.

Impact of MMI on Your Personal Injury Claim

Reaching MMI is a pivotal moment in your personal injury case because it marks the point where the full extent of your injuries becomes clear. Here’s how MMI impacts your claim:

  • Finalizing Your Medical Expenses: MMI allows you to calculate your total medical costs, including past and future treatments related to your injuries.
  • Determines Long-Term Effects: When you reach MMI, the lasting effects of your injuries can be assessed, which is crucial for calculating long-term needs and potential compensation.
  • Establishes Compensation for Pain and Suffering: Understanding the permanent nature of any injuries or disabilities at MMI helps in valuing pain and suffering damages.
  • Affects Settlement Negotiations: Knowing the full extent of your injuries at MMI can strengthen your position in settlement discussions with insurance companies.
  • Sets the Stage for Legal Action: Reaching MMI provides a strong foundation for taking your claim to court if it becomes necessary. Your lawyer can proceed with your case, armed with a comprehensive understanding of your injuries.

MMI and Settlement Negotiations

a team of personal injury lawyers in new york having a discussion about the MMI of their injured clientSometimes, there are disagreements over whether you’ve truly reached MMI, which can complicate your personal injury claim. Insurance companies might argue that you’ve reached MMI earlier than you or your doctors believe, aiming to minimize your compensation. These disputes can delay settlements and add stress to an already challenging situation.

In these instances, it’s essential to have an experienced and capable attorney by your side. An attorney can challenge the insurance company’s assertions by presenting comprehensive medical evidence and expert testimony to support your claim. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to make sure the determination of MMI is fair and reflects the true extent of your injuries. Moreover, an attorney can guide you through the complex legal process, advocating for your rights and striving for a fair settlement.

Contact Our New York MMI Lawyers Now

Don’t let an insurance company deny you fair compensation with an unfair and untimely MMI determination. Call our team of New York personal injury lawyers at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb today or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.

VERDICT

$17,500,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.

VERDICT

$4,730,398

Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).

VERDICT

$12,561,772

A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.

VERDICT

$10,500,000

A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.

VERDICT

$3,470,670

The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.

VERDICT

$3,823,000

Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.

VERDICT

$2,750,000

The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.

VERDICT

$1,677,835

The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.

VERDICT

$2,995,000

The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.

VERDICT

$2,610,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.

VERDICT

$2,253,714

A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.

VERDICT

$1,900,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.

VERDICT

$1,350,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

arien machicotearien machicote
20:55 17 Jul 24
I must say I am extremely happy and amazed at the incredible work at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb they were always available if I had any questions and they were always answered with very professionallyJason Steinberg is a great lawyer and I will always highly suggest this law firm and team to anyone out their. Thank you again to everyone at this incredible Firm!!!
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
S SS S
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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