Discussing Your Car Crash Injuries with a Doctor
One of the most important things to do after being injured in a car crash is to seek medical care. You do not want your injuries to get worse because of a delay in treatment. The sooner you start getting treated, the sooner you can complete your recovery.
It is important to be thorough when talking to doctors about your injuries, not only to optimize the care you receive, but also for the strength of your case. Omitting information could give the insurance company room to dispute your credibility and lower the value of your claim.
Below, our experienced Minneapolis auto accident attorneys talk about what crash victims should discuss with their doctors. If you have more questions about what to do after being injured in a crash, TSR Injury Law is here to help. Give us a call to schedule your free consultation.
Discussing the Crash with Doctors
Make sure to tell the doctor how you were injured. The doctor will probably have many questions about how the crash occurred. Having answers to these questions helps your doctor with properly diagnosing and treating your injuries. Do not exaggerate about the crash. Saying you “were hit at 60 mph” does not help when you truly don’t know and only gives the insurance company room to doubt you. Keep the explanation simple on how the crash happened. It is not actually relevant to the medical treatment. “I was rear-ended” or “I was going straight on a green and another car ran a red light” is sufficient.
Tell the doctor what you remember about the crash, particularly where your vehicle got hit and if any parts of your body hit things inside the vehicle, like the steering wheel, dashboard, window, gear shift, or anything else. Medical treatment may be affected by crash facts by explaining “my left shoulder hit the side door when I was t-boned” as an example.
You want to give the doctor as much information as possible so he or she can determine where and how you may have been injured.
Explaining Your Injuries
Tell the doctor where it hurts and how severe the pain is, even if you think the pain is minor. Describe the pain as well. For example, is it an ache, burning or stabbing pain?
Inform the doctor of other symptoms you are experiencing, such as limited mobility, nausea, dizziness, confusion, headaches, numbness, irritability, behavioral changes, etc. Radiating pain or numbness into your arms/hands or your buttocks and legs are extremely important to mention. These symptoms could indicate an injury you are unaware of, such as an internal injury, nerve damage or brain injury.
Make sure to inform the doctor about any injuries you had before the crash. If you never treated for an injury, it is not as important as injuries or pains you have treated for before the crash. Your doctor can determine if you aggravated an existing injury and help to differentiate between your new injuries and the old injury.
If you are concerned that revealing a preexisting injury may hurt your claim, you need to know that you can still seek compensation. The insurance company may try to use your existing injury to devalue your claim, but an experienced attorney should know how to counter any arguments. That is one of the reasons hiring a licensed attorney is so important after being injured in a crash.
Your pre-existing medical issues may have made you more likely to suffer an injury in the crash, but that cannot be used to devalue your claim or bar you from seeking compensation.
Continuing Your Treatment
The discussion about your injuries should continue after your first meeting with a doctor. When you return for a follow-up or visit other doctors, keep them updated on how you are feeling and describe any changes in your symptoms. This information will be noted in your medical records – consistent updates on your condition shows you are receiving treatment and trying to get better. These records also reiterate your injuries, which helps to validate your claim. Complaining that your neck hurts to your spouse is not the same thing as reporting it to your doctor. Doctors create medical records and bills and that is what insurance companies need to review.
It is important to follow the doctor’s orders about managing your injuries. For example, if the doctor tells you to avoid certain physical activities, make sure to avoid them. If you disobey the doctor, you could hurt yourself more and prolong your treatment and recovery. It could also work against your claim. The insurance company could say you are ignoring your doctor’s orders because your injuries are not as bad as you said.
You may need to reschedule some appointments for a variety of reasons. That is OK, if you have a good reason, and you attend the rescheduled appointment. Keep your lawyer informed as well. The insurance company may try to use rescheduled appointments against you, claiming you are not really hurt.
What if I Have Questions or Concerns About Treatment?
There are times patients are concerned about taking medications or undergoing a particular treatment. It is important to discuss these concerns with your doctor. He or she should be able to answer your questions about medication side effects, the pros and cons of surgery or another medical intervention.
Maybe you have used a medication before and suffered unpleasant side effects. If that is the case, inform your doctor and he or she may be able to prescribe something different.
If you are unsure about something a doctor is recommending, you may want to get a second opinion. Sometimes another doctor confirms what the first doctor said, and this can be reassuring to some people. If the other doctor has a different opinion, you at least have options to consider.
We Are Here to Help. Call to Learn More
Unsure how an attorney can assist you after a crash?
Learn how by calling TSR today to schedule your free legal consultation. Crash victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than crash victims who go it alone.
This is because attorneys are committed to recovering as much compensation as possible for the victim, unlike the insurance company that wants to pay out as little as possible.
TSR Injury Law has a proven track record - $300 million recovered for our clients.
We are ready to help. Call us at (612) TSR-TIME.