If you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation from them under California law.
You may be anxious to settle your claim with their insurance company so you have the money to pay your medical expenses and your monthly bills and can get on with your life.
However, our San Diego car accident attorney adds, you should not accept a settlement until you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI) if you want to recover all the compensation you deserve.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement?
Your maximum medical improvement is the stage in your medical care where you have either fully recovered from your injuries or recovered as much as you can.
If you suffered permanently disabling injuries, you will have reached your MMI when you have improved as much as possible, and your doctor can give you a final prognosis regarding your anticipated future medical needs.
Why You Should Wait Until You Reach Your MMI to Settle Your Case
If you suffered a long-term injury or multiple injuries in a car accident, it could take you months or longer to reach your MMI. While it can be frustrating to have to wait that long to settle your claim, it is really in your best interest to do this. There are two reasons this is important.
You Cannot Accurately Value Your Claim
Under California’s negligence laws, you are entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Your doctor cannot know what treatments you will need in the future and how debilitating your injuries will be until you reach your maximum medical improvement. This could also affect your ability to return to work and the pain and suffering you must endure throughout your life.
In addition, an experienced personal injury lawyer will not be able to accurately value your future damages until you reach your MMI and receive a final prognosis from your physician. If you want to receive all that you are entitled to in your settlement, you should wait until you reach MMI and know how much your claim is really worth.
Your Settlement Will Be Final
Once you settle your claim with the insurance company, it will be a full and final settlement of your case. You will not be able to reopen your claim or file a new one if you later discover that your injuries were more serious than you thought. If you settle your claim too quickly, you could lose the money you need to pay for expensive medical treatments and to replace the income you will lose if you are too injured to work.