Is An Injury Lawsuit Affected If The Victim Has Not Recovered?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on August 27, 2020 and updated on March 4, 2022.

injury victim in recoveryLawsuits can take months or even years to complete. This is one of the reasons most personal injury cases are settled before the case goes to trial.

However, settling a personal injury case may still take some time because your lawyer will need to wait until you have recovered from your injuries. Unless you have a catastrophic injury, you should generally wait about six months to see if your injuries will completely heal. However, depending on the injury, you may continue to have symptoms even after a year.

In order to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries, this means waiting until you reach your maximum medical improvement, also referred to as MMI. Below, our legal team explains how waiting for this point in your medical treatment affects an injury lawsuit and your right to compensation.

The Importance of Medical Treatment

After being injured in an accident, the most important thing to do is getting medical treatment for your injuries. Doing so creates documented evidence that you have been injured, the extent and severity of that injury and that your doctor has provided a treatment plan for you.

Without medical records to serve as evidence and proof of your injuries, filing a personal injury lawsuit could be difficult. You do not want to give the other side any reason to discredit seriousness of your injuries and not be fairly compensated at the end of the legal process.

Once medical treatment has started, your doctor will be able to track your process and evaluate your recovery to see if you require more treatment.

Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement

The main objective in obtaining medical treatment for your injuries is to return to the state you were in before the accident or incident happened. In other words, being made whole again.

Reaching maximum medical improvement will depend on your situation. The more serious the injury, the longer it will take. In the most severe cases, an injured victim may not be able to make a full recovery or be made whole again.

MMI also means that you have either fully recovered or have recovered as much as you will based on the medical doctor’s expert opinion. If you have reached MMI but will not make a full recovery from your injuries, any pain and suffering you have experienced may result in a higher compensation amount.

Reasons to Hold Off Accepting a Settlement

Before reaching MMI, a settlement would be very challenging to determine if there is a chance that you may require more treatment in the future and the costs associated with this care. This is why it is important to wait until you have recovered to the fullest possible extent before accepting a settlement.

Your lawyer would be able to calculate your past and current medical bills and lost wages and more definitively factor in future medical expenses and pain and suffering. If your injuries are worse than you realize, you will not be able to obtain more compensation after having agreed to a settlement.

Future Medical Treatment May Be Required

When your doctor decides your condition is stable, he or she may require you to obtain future medical treatment. This may include:

  • Additional surgical procedures
  • Follow-up doctor appointments
  • Seeing a specialist, such as a chiropractor
  • Undergoing physical therapy
  • Prescribed and/or over-the-counter medication
  • Adaptive equipment, such as a wheelchair or crutches
  • Assistive devices, such as hearing aids, prosthetics
  • Mental health counseling
  • Home health care assistants

Determining the cost of future medical treatment will likely involve your lawyer retaining the services of a medical expert to help explain the reasonableness and necessity of treatment and its overall cost.

See How Our Firm Could Help

The process of identifying and proving maximum medical improvement in an injury lawsuit can be difficult. A licensed Maryland personal injury lawyer from our firm is prepared to review your situation in detail, discuss your legal rights and help you navigate the entire legal process.

We offer free consultations with no obligation to hire us and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing up front unless we help you obtain compensation.

Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices. Free Case Reviews. Ph: 410-244-7005.