Seeking Medical Care for Your Car Accident Case
Medical care, medical reports, and documentation are not only imperative to your health and safety but are also fundamental in building your car accident case or claim.
If you believe you have been injured in a car accident, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Current and future medical care costs are some of the most significant damages you may be entitled to as a car accident victim. These costs serve as the foundation of your case.
Yet, there are certain nuances to navigating medical care after an accident that can either be a benefit or detriment to you receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Our personal injury attorneys can guide you through this stressful process and help build your claim while steering you away from common pitfalls that could unnecessarily reduce the damages and medical expenses you are entitled to.
Continue reading to learn more about what you should and shouldn’t do while seeking medical care in your car accident case.
Do: See a Doctor Immediately
Whether you believe you have a serious injury or not, you should see a doctor immediately.
In most cases, you will be immediately aware of bodily pain, injury, or harm caused by the accident. However, this isn’t always the case.
The adrenaline spike and state of shock in the wake of a car accident can mask pain and the signs of a new injury. Mild to severe injuries such as soft tissue or muscle tears, fractures, back pain, neck problems, and even concussions can be overshadowed by the mental and emotional trauma of a car accident.
Seeing a doctor immediately is not only critical for your health and safety in identifying and treating car accident-related injuries early on, but can also give our personal injury attorneys valuable medical evidence for strengthening your claim or future car accident case.
Don’t: Wait to Get Medical Care
Any time there is a gap between the accident and your initial doctor’s appointment, it can turn into a major hindrance to your claim or car accident case.
Seeing a doctor days or weeks after an accident makes it easy for the insurance company you’re filing against, and their attorneys, to downplay your claim.
The insurance adjuster will say: “If you suffered injuries in the accident, why didn’t you go to a doctor sooner?”
Their goal is to minimize your claim and settlement by any legal means necessary and they will use in delay in seeking medical treatment against you.
Any delay in seeking medical care is all they need to cast doubt on your claim and knock your settlement down to a fraction of what you may be entitled to by law. More importantly, this can prevent you from securing what you need financially to cover all your current and future medical expenses.
This unsuspecting, but common mistake often results in car accident victims settling for much less than they need to cover all their current and projected accident-related medical expenses.
It can also lead to car accident victims paying out of pocket and/or going into debt over medical bills they could have easily been compensated for, had they gone to the doctor immediately.
Don’t wait to get medical care. Look out for your health, safety, claim, and potential car accident case by getting medical care immediately.
Do: Discuss the Pain and Injuries Caused by the Accident Thoroughly with Your Doctor
When you’re sitting on the exam table at your doctor’s appointment, you should discuss with your doctor the pain and injuries caused by the accident.
Your doctor’s focus should be on the diagnosis, analysis, treatment, and care for those injuries, and nothing else. Keeping the focus of your appointment on accident-related injuries will ensure you get the best care and treatment possible.
From a legal perspective, it will also help simplify the medical documentation and reporting for your car accident case, while avoiding the mistake of addressing other medical conditions that are unrelated to the accident.
Don’t: Discuss Other Pain, Injuries, or Chronic Conditions
When you go to see your doctor for your car accident-related injuries, keep in mind that your doctor should document every symptom that you report in your medical records.
That information can be used for you, or against you. As such, this is not the time to discuss:
- Details regarding the events surrounding the accident
- Any acute or chronic injuries or health conditions you had prior to the accident
- And your personal or family medical history
Once again, insurance companies will use any and all information they have access to (including medical records and reports) to challenge the validity and value of your claim.
We’ve seen the settlement value of car accident claims greatly reduced because clients disclosed irrelevant facts to their doctor. We’ve also seen claims diminished or thrown out because clients discussed pre-existing injuries or medical conditions unrelated to the accident. In these scenarios, insurance companies and their representation can underscore you had prior conditions that may have been exacerbated by the accident but were not a direct result of it.
Keep the conversation with your doctor about your pain and injuries caused by the accident. Do not use this time to rehash details of the accident or discuss other historic health or medical issues.
Do: Have Your Doctors Communicate with Your Personal Injury Lawyers
Depending on the nature of your injury, you may have to see different types of medical and rehabilitative care providers throughout this process. Family practice physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, and orthopedic surgeons are often involved in treatment and recovery for car accident injuries.
To put your car accident case in the best possible position, your personal injury attorneys should be in contact with all of the medical care providers and specialists involved in your treatment and care. Your lawyer will request your doctor’s medical records and may sometimes ask your doctor to prepare a medical report.
Good communication between your lawyer and doctor is important. However, you should never tell your doctor that your lawyer advised you to see the doctor and you should never tell your doctor that your lawyer asked you to discuss certain things with your doctor.
Your lawyer will ask you to sign a medical authorization in order to obtain copies of your medical records and bills from all of your care providers. Your medical records, reports, and bills are all critical to building your claim.
Don’t: Hide Anything from Your Personal Injury Lawyers
It isn’t uncommon that car accident victims avoid embarrassing health issues or injuries, caused by the car accident. Don’t do that.
No matter how awkward or embarrassed you feel about your injuries or conditions, do not withhold that information from your accident attorneys. The more information our personal injury attorneys have, the better equipped we will be to get you a full and fair settlement for your current and future medical expenses.
What you share with your attorney is privileged information protected by the attorney-client relationship. Rather than keep secrets that you think will hurt your case, it’s better to tell your lawyer so they can plan and be prepared should those things come up by others in your case.
Our attorneys are compassionate and understanding. Your health, safety, and privacy are our top priorities. At GBM Law, you can always expect a professional, discrete, non-judgmental atmosphere.
Contact GBM Law for Representation in your Car Accident Personal Injury Case
If you have any questions or concerns about your doctor appointments or the medical process during the car accident case or claim process, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury attorneys at GBM Law immediately for a free case review.