Seeking medical treatment after a car accident or after suffering a workers’ compensation injury seems like a fairly simple process. However, throughout the years of experience, we have seen several things that people do or say at doctor’s visits that can hurt their case. We have compiled a list of solutions to common mistakes people make at doctor’s visits so that you can avoid making those mistakes. Below is a list of recommendations you should follow to ensure the success of your personal injury case.
Seek medical treatment immediately after an accident is a short answer.
Many people think that their injuries are not severe enough to warrant seeking medical treatment, but it is important to go to the hospital emergency room or your primary care physician right after your work-related or car accident.
Symptoms and injuries can take some time to manifest, and prompt treatment can address any injuries that may worsen. Additionally, insurance companies and defense teams often use delays in treatment to dispute the nature and severity of an accident victim’s injuries. Seek treatment even if you do not think you need it to have documentation of your condition on record.
Don’t Fabricate Symptoms and Don’t Leave Out Important Health History!
While at a doctor’s appointment, it is important to be completely honest with your doctor or health care provider. You may think that playing up your pain or symptoms may help strengthen your case, but doctors are trained to catch inconsistencies. If your doctor thinks you are exaggerating or making something up, he or she will surely note this on your records, and it will harm your case. It is best, to be honest about your symptoms.
Also, be forthcoming about any previous injuries or past medical history. Bringing up pre-existing conditions or previous injuries may seem like it could hurt your case, but you are more likely to harm your case if the information is discovered later. Pre-existing conditions or injuries are not a bar to recovery in a personal injury case, and you may actually help your case by letting your doctor know of any symptoms or conditions that have worsened after the accident.
You have nothing to lose by being completely honest at your medical visits, and everything to lose by omitting or fabricating details. The doctor’s job is to help diagnose you so that you can make a full recovery. Help them do their job by being forthcoming, and your case will fare much better for it.
Your physician may make several recommendations, including whether to work at all or with restrictions, prescribing medications, or attending physical therapy, among other things. It is crucial to follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter. Failure to abide by your doctor’s orders could be used by an insurance company or defense team to blame you for a slow recovery or worsened injuries. The following is a list of things you should do following your doctor’s visits.
If your injuries are affecting your ability to work, let your work injury doctor know. This is critical for your doctor to document not only for your case but for your general health and safety. Report any decreased ability to make certain movements or lift certain weights, and advise your doctor about how your physical abilities have otherwise changed since the accident.
It is important for your doctor to note these restrictions or the inability to work so that you can have documentation to present to your employer or the insurance company.
If your workers’ comp doctor clears you to work with restrictions, report this to your employer and present the documentation from your doctor. Make sure you abide by your doctor’s recommendations regarding your ability to work.
It may seem relevant to let your doctor know that your injuries are the subject of a lawsuit, but not only is it unnecessary, but it also is not wise to do so. Doctors are often reluctant to become involved in lawsuits for fear of being involved in legal proceedings. Doctors’ primary focus is to diagnose and treat patients, and they are much more willing to do so if they don’t feel that their job is being scrutinized under a legal microscope.
Of course, if you are asked by the doctor if your injuries are the subject of a lawsuit, you should be honest. However, you should generally avoid disclosing any details about your lawsuit to anyone other than your personal injury or a workers’ comp attorney. Your doctor only needs to know relevant information about your injuries and how you got those injuries. Let your doctor focus on his job of helping you recover, and leave the legal side of things to your attorney.
We’ve all been there. You wake up one morning and remember you have a follow-up appointment that you absolutely do not want to attend. You feel better, and you don’t see why it’s necessary. It’s fine if you skip it, right? The truth is, failure to attend a scheduled doctor’s appointment could spell bad news for your case in the future.
If you miss an appointment, doctors will note that you did not show up for your appointment in your medical files. This is something that insurance companies or defense teams frequently look for this as a way to claim that your injuries are not as bad as you allege and that you were not cooperative with treatment.
Try to attend all scheduled doctor’s appointments, no matter how you feel. Of course, if you absolutely cannot attend, try to call and reschedule with as much advance notice as possible to avoid a no-show notation on your file.
It is common for someone to start to feel better, and assume that their recommended treatment is no longer necessary. This could lead someone to stop taking their prescribed medication, discontinue physical therapy, or stop showing up for doctors’ visits. It is important to continue with these recommendations until your doctor tells you that you can stop, even if you are feeling better.
Although it may seem pointless and unnecessarily expensive to continue with treatment when you are feeling better, your doctor has likely prescribed you your treatment plan for a reason. He or she has extensive experience working with people with similar injuries, and the recommended treatment plan is designed to make sure you reach full recovery.
If you have future injuries down the road or your pain or symptoms reemerge, the insurance company or defense team may claim you worsened or caused your injuries by stopping treatment before you were cleared to. They may also use this as evidence that you did not care about getting better, so your injuries must not have been as bad as you claim. Make sure you abide by all recommendations that your doctor has given you until the time your doctor says you are cleared to discontinue them.
Your lawyer will request and receive copies of any medical documentation and other relevant documents related to your case, but it is good practice to keep a copy for your own records. If you see a doctor, let your attorney know and give him or her copies of any relevant documents from your visit.
In addition, keep copies of any paperwork you receive from the insurance company or opposing parties and show these to your attorney as soon as possible. Having this information readily available will make sure your attorney be informed about all the facts in your case so that he or she can build the best case possible.
If you have been involved in an accident, top injury doctors are here to help answer any questions you may have and help you get well. Do not make the same mistakes others have made when dealing with doctors or at any other stage of your case. Call us today at (800) 897-8440 to help find an experienced injury doctor near you!
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