What Does It Mean for an Injury Claim When Healing Has Ended?
It may take time to settle a personal injury claim because your personal injury lawyer needs to wait until the healing process has ended. Unless an injury is catastrophic, a general rule is waiting ten months to see if the injury healing process has plateaued.
Below, learn more about what the end of the healing process means for an injury claim and why it is so important to wait for this point to try to reach a fair settlement.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement is the point in your treatment when your condition is stabilized and is unlikely to change substantially in the future, even with continued treatment. This may mean that your condition healed completely, but often it means the victim has some permanent injury or disability.
Your treating doctor will determine when you have reached maximum medical improvement. Your doctor will track your progress and evaluate your recovery to determine if your condition is getting better or your progress has plateaued. You may also be sent to other medical professionals, such as specialists or physical therapists who may have an opinion about when recovery is completed..
Your overall health, age, pre-existing medical conditions, availability to receive treatment and other factors may affect the length of your treatment.
Once you have reached maximum medical improvement, your doctor may do an evaluation to determine future treatment needs. Even though these treatments are unlikely to change your condition, they may help you better manage symptoms, like chronic pain. The doctor’s evaluation may be critical to determining if you can continue working in the same capacity you did before the injury.
During your treatment, make sure to keep track of all medical records that document treatment received and your doctor’s opinion of your progress and the effects of your injury. These records provide valuable evidence to help your attorney establish the full value of your claim. If you hire an attorney, he or she will gather the records and bills for you. Either way, make sure to tell your doctor how you are feeling in great detail. More detail may help your attorney establish the severity of your injuries.
Why You Should Wait to Accept a Settlement
It is important that you wait to reach maximum medical improvement before accepting a settlement because it is difficult to determine the value of your claim before this point. Once you reach this point, your lawyer can add up your medical expenses and lost wages and more accurately factor in future medical costs and pain and suffering.
Once you accept a settlement, you will sign a release form releasing the defendant from any further liability involved in the claim. If your injuries are worse than you originally thought or you incur unanticipated expenses, you cannot demand more money after you have agreed to the settlement.
Possible Future Treatment Needs
Once your condition stabilizes, you may need future medical treatment, which might include some of the following:
- Follow-up doctor visits such as chiropractic or pain management injections
- Laboratory tests
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Mental health counseling
- Home health care
- Assistive devices such as wheelchairs, prosthetics or crutches
To determine the full financial cost of this continued treatment, your licensed attorney may need to retain the service of a medical expert who can explain why treatment is needed and how much it may cost.
Lifecare planning experts may be able to estimate the cost of specific medical procedures, interventions and medications while considering factors such as your general health before the accident, age and available treatment options in your area.
How TSR Injury Law Can Help
Even though you should be prepared to wait until maximum medical improvement before settling your claim, you should not delay in contacting a licensed attorney. Our Bloomington personal injury lawyers can get to work immediately on your claim, gather documents to support your demand for compensation and begin the negotiation process when the time is right.
We provide a free, no-obligation consultation so you risk nothing by contacting us to find out about your rights and legal options. Call us today to get started on your claim. (612) TSR-TIME