What Is Maximum Medical Improvement In A Personal Injury Case?
Maximum medical improvement is a term that’s used by doctors to identify the time when you have plateaued in your medical treatment. In other words, it is meant to say that you are not likely to get better or worse absent medical care. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to need any medical care at all, because many people need long-term pain management and other forms of treatment to deal with disabilities. It simply means that you have stabilized and are not likely to get better or worse.
When you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, your attorney will start to gather the documentation necessary to support your case and make a settlement demand from the insurance company. At that point, the attorney will usually write a letter to the doctor asking for the doctor’s opinion in terms of your future medical needs. The case should be settled relatively soon after reaching the point of maximum medical improvement.
What Is An Independent Medical Examination?
Independent medical examinations are typically performed by doctors who have been hired by someone involved in your case. They are meant to determine and give an opinion about your medical issues as they relate to the case. For example, many people will get an independent medical examination to see if they still have to pay the no-fault benefits for the medical care and the lost wages. The opposing side in your case might have a suspicion that the injury is actually a pre-existing condition or was caused by something other than the automobile accident and want an independent medical exam to determine what is caused or not caused by the accident.
An independent medical evaluation involves you going to a doctor who does nothing more than review your medical records, perform a physical examination of you and write a report on their findings in regards to the nature of your injury, the cause of your injury, and your future need for medical care. Those are the basic issues that come up and are addressed in the independent medical examination report. The insurance company will use that independent medical examination report to make decisions about whether or not to settle the claim.
Independent medical evaluations aren’t nearly as good as treating physician reports. This is because an independent medical evaluation or examination is a one-time visit with a patient by a doctor with the intent of evaluating medical-legal issues. The doctor has been hired by the insurance company to help make a decision on a medical-legal issue, and is typically someone who the insurance company knows will write a report that’s favorable to their side of the case. I don’t think too much of most independent medical evaluators or their reports because they have a tendency to be very biased in favor of the liability insurance carrier. If you are subjected to an Independent Medical Examination, talk to your attorney immediately or get one involved right away. The doctor performing the exam could be a real fraud or problem doctor that who is going to try to torpedo your case.
How Can Pre-Existing Conditions Impact My Personal Injury Settlement?
Having pre-existing conditions is always an issue in any personal injury settlement or case. Whether or not pre-existing conditions will negatively impact your case will depend on the quality of the doctor who’s evaluating both the accident-related injuries and the pre-existing conditions. That doctor will have to write a report that explains what is pre-existing and what is related to the accident. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you want to make sure you have a doctor who is ready, willing and able to write a good report outlining why your injuries are accident-related and why the need for medical care stems from the auto accident rather than from pre-existing medical conditions.
When you have extensive pre-existing medical conditions, you need to get a lawyer who can combat the problem that those pre-existing conditions may pose. If your lawyer gets involved early on in the case, then when it comes time to make a demand on the liability carrier, they will be prepared to explain the injuries that are accident-related and the injuries that are not. This will give you the best chance of receiving a decent settlement.
For more information on Maximum Medical Improvement, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (316) 854-4601 today.
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