Q -1: What are “Stabilization of Symptoms” in the context of car accident injuries?

  • “Stabilization of Symptoms,” or “Shojo-kotei (症状固定) ” in Japanese, refers to a phase in injury treatment where the doctor believes that the injury has reached its peak level of recovery and will not improve further, even with ongoing medical interventions. This term emphasizes the overall journey of recovery and the point where further improvement ceases, rather than focusing on specific static symptoms.



Q -2: How does the concept of “Stabilization of Symptoms” relate to the idea of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and why are there multiple translations for it?

  • “Stabilization of Symptoms” or “症状固定” is a concept rooted in the Japanese legal system. When translated into English, there isn’t a standardized translation, leading to different websites adopting varied terminology such as “fixation of symptoms,” “fixed stage of symptom,” “symptom fixation,” and “date of symptom stabilization.” However, it’s essential to understand that all these translations refer to the same original concept: “Shojo-kotei (症状固定).”
  • This concept plays a similar role and carries a nearly identical meaning to the term “_Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)_” used in the legal practices of workers’ compensation and car accidents in the United States. However, there’s a notable distinction: while the definition of MMI in the U.S. seems to include the specification “within the next year,” the Japanese system doesn’t emphasize such a timeframe.


Q -3: What are the implications of being diagnosed with Stabilization of Symptoms?

  • Once diagnosed with Stabilization of Symptoms, two primary outcomes can emerge:
  1. Medical Expense Coverage: Insurance companies may halt compensation for further treatment costs, believing the treatment might no longer be effective.
  2. Compensation for Residual Disability: If GIROJ acknowledges a residual disability post-diagnosis, compensation can significantly increase, covering aspects like lost wages due to the disability, future nursing care fees, and consolation money for the residual disability.


Q -4: What are the financial implications of being diagnosed with Stabilization of Symptoms?

  • Before the diagnosis of Stabilization of Symptoms, victims can claim compensation for various costs. After the diagnosis, the compensation structure changes, emphasizing the long-term impacts of the injury.
  • Depending on the phase of the diagnosis, victims can claim compensation for various costs:
    • For the pre-“stabilization” phase:
      • Medical expenses
      • Transportation fees for hospital visits
      • Nursing care fees
      • Miscellaneous hospitalization expenses
      • Lost wages due to injury
      • Isha-ryou(Pain and Suffering) Compensation for travel or hospital stays
    • For the post-“stabilization” phase:
      • Lost wages due to residual disability/permanent injury
      • Compensation for residual disability/permanent injury
      • Future nursing care fees


Q -5: What should one do if an insurance company stops covering medical expenses prematurely?

  • It’s crucial to continue medical care if deemed necessary, even if the insurance company stops payments. They might later cover the treatment costs if they find the treatment was essential.

by Shiki Tomimasu, Attorney-At-Law