Q: My wife was in a car accident in Jan 2020 where the other driver ran a red light and was cited. She hasn't worked since,
Things are getting bad financially. She's seen quite a few MDs and therapists. She gets some relief but in a few days is back to very bad pain. The only job she studied for and worked for 25 + years is dental hygiene amd working in that position now is impossible due to her pain. We retained an attorney but we keep hearing he won't move forward to insurance companies until a medical professional declares MMI, but no doctor seems to be willing to do that no matter how bad she complains of her pain after treatments. Some of the medical folks she's seen have said they don't pronounce MMI. If MMI is the lynchpin to her case . . .how the hell does that EVER get declared? We're totally utterly confused!
A: I am sorry to hear bc snout you’re wife’s injuries. Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is not a prerequisite to resolve your wife’s claim. However, a good personal injury lawyer will want to make sure that if your wife has long term/permanent impairments, a poor prognosis for recovery, and an ongoing need for future treatment, those issues are fully understood before resolving her case. If those details are unclear from the records, which is often the case, your attorney should meet with one or more of your wife’s providers to get a narrative report(s) addressing those issues so the can be accounted for in determining what is “full compensation “ for her injuries.
We would certainly be happy to discuss this further and share our opinions with you on Monday.
A: MMI is more of a worker's comp term rather than personal injury. As stated above, it is not required. However, your wife's settlement with the third party insurance company is a lump sum payment. So typically it's best to wait until treatment is finished so that the attorney and her know the full extent of her damages and can get the most for her claim. If the policy limits are lower, you may be able to move forward based on what treatment has already been received. Your attorney should know what the policy limits are due to a new law that took effect in January.
A: In addition to what Mr. Norton stated, your wife may have a two part claim. The 1st part being against the at fault party, wherein her claim must either be settled or a lawsuit filed within the 3 year Statute of Limitations (in Colo.) If she is able to resolve her initial claim for the at fault parties’ bodily injury policy limits with an okay from your auto carrier she then has an additional two years to settle the under-insured claim with her/your insurance. Thus, while it is preferable for your wife to get as close to pre-accident health before settling her claim with the at fault parties’ insurance it’s not absolutely necessary, especially if her injuries require her to have surgery and future medical care. It is important though that she be receiving treatment from a medical treatment provider who is experienced with trauma, which might not necessarily be her regular doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist. She may also need diagnostic testing and surgery to recover quality of life which some patients are reluctant to undergo.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
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