Can a Doctor Impact Your Personal Injury Case?
The most important thing that an injury victim can do is to seek medical care as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Failure to seek medical care in a timely manner is not only dangerous, as it could impair your health and put your life in jeopardy, but it might also be costly in terms of recovering compensation in a personal injury case. If you do not seek care, an insurance adjuster may not believe your injuries to be serious.
It is important that you understand how a doctor can impact your personal injury case. From increasing your settlement amount to proving that you will have lifelong complications from your injury, your doctor is one of the most important components of your claim. The following reviews some medical variables that may affect your personal injury case. If you have more questions, contact a Hollywood, Florida, personal injury lawyer.
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
Before you can receive treatment for your injuries, it will be important that you receive an accurate diagnosis. For injuries from things like truck or motorcycle accidents a diagnosis may be more straightforward, however for injuries from something like a slip and fall it may be a bit more complex. Although a diagnosis is usually a minimal cost in comparison to treatment, tests and appointments can still add up — for these, you deserve to be compensated.
Keep in mind that the diagnosis-to-treatment ratio is often important in a personal injury case. For example, if the doctor spends more time diagnosing you than they do treating you, an insurance adjuster may question the severity of your injuries, and thereby the amount of money you deserve for pain and suffering damages. This is because pain and suffering damages are often determined by multiplying your economic damages (medical bills) by a number one through five, known as a multiplier. However, if most of your medical bills are for diagnostic tests, the insurance adjuster may believe that your case warrants a lower multiplier. Read more about the types of damages available in a personal injury claim on the website of the Legal Information Institute.
The second thing that will affect your personal injury case and damages is the type of treatment you receive and from where you receive it. Keep in mind that modern, mainstream medicine is generally regarded as preferable in the eyes of an insurance adjuster, regardless of your own personal beliefs. When you hand over a $100,000 bill from a well-regarded hospital, it is less likely that the insurance adjuster will challenge this. However, if you seek treatment in less traditional forms, including acupuncture, chiropractic services, herbal treatments, etc., these forms may be more highly scrutinized.
For this reason, it is almost always best to seek treatment from a doctor who practices traditional Western medicine. Although you may be able to recover compensation for less traditional treatments, doing so often proves to be much more difficult.
The duration and type of your treatment will also matter. For example, say that your doctor prescribes physical therapy. At this point, you may have two options: to seek physical therapy from a therapist who is within the doctor’s office/within the hospital where the doctor works and interacts directly with your doctor, or to seek physical therapy from an independent therapist.
In most cases, choosing the former — a therapist who works directly with your doctor — is ideal. This is because if you work with an independent physical therapist, the insurance company might assume that the therapist has taken things into his or her own hands, so to speak, and is providing you with endless therapy sessions that you no longer really need. On the other hand, when the therapist is working directly with the doctor, it is more clear how your medical team is working together.
Attending Your Appointments
Another component to your personal injury claim that may affect the amount of damages that you recover is whether or not you attend your appointments and follow through with the doctor’s orders. If you fail to attend your appointments, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case will likely notice and will probably assume that your injuries are not as serious as you claim them to be, since you are skipping appointments.
Further, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders to a T. Again, the insurance adjusters may be keeping an eye on your activity, even going as far as adding you to their social media networks. If you do not follow the doctor’s orders, it can appear as though you’re not really injured.
Keeping Thorough Records
It is important that both you and your doctor keep thorough records of any and all medical treatment that you receive. Ask your doctor to keep detailed notes of your condition, and tell your doctor upfront that you are involved in a personal injury case. For all medical bills you receive, make a copy and store them in a safe place. Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records.
Can a Doctor Impact Your Personal Injury Case?
As demonstrated by the information above, it is obvious that a doctor absolutely can impact your personal injury case. For this reason, it is important that you choose a doctor who is highly rated and works within a legitimate and mainstream health care facility. Again, it is also important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after your injury, attend all your appointments, follow the doctor’s orders, and keep detailed records of all of your medical treatment.
Seek Counsel from a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hollywood, Florida
You may assume that if you are injured and someone else caused those injuries, they will have to pay for them no matter what. Unfortunately, that is not always how it works; there are dozens of variables that can affect how much your case is worth, including the doctor you choose and the medical care that you receive.
To help you pursue a full and fair settlement in your personal injury claim, call an experienced personal injury lawyer in Hollywood, Florida, at your earliest convenience. The sooner you call, the sooner our team at Rosen & Ohr, P.A., can get to work on your case. We can help you to find a trustworthy doctor and will assist you in keeping track of and organizing all of your medical data, as well as filing your personal injury claim. Contact us now for a free case consultation.