After you’ve been in an accident, your doctor is a vital part of your personal injury claim. The doctor you choose to treat your injuries will impact your case. The concern is whether the impact is positive or negative. Choose a qualified medical provider to avoid the latter outcome. Learn what factors you should consider when selecting a doctor after an accident.
Be cautious of an insurance-recommended provider. Large insurance companies sometimes contract with doctors. When victims file claims, the insurance company sends the victims to the specified providers.
The deal seems one-sided, but the insurance company benefits, too. Contracted doctors want to protect the insurance company to maintain their patient pipeline. Their practices are not always in the best interests of victims.
These doctors may not engage in illegal practices or neglect the health of accident victims, their objective is to control the cost for the insurance company. These doctors also report every detail to the insurance company. Even a small misstep in describing your pain could put your claim at risk.
Assume you told the doctor your pain is worse at night when you get home from work, for instance. In return, the insurance company could argue that your work activity is partially to blame for your discomfort. They could work to lower the amount they pay on your claim.
Only visit their doctor if the insurance company requires the initial exam. Instead, seek immediate treatment from a physician who is independent of the insurance company.
Look for a specialist if you face specific or rare injuries. You can visit a general practitioner, but you will face an uphill battle if your case goes to court. High-value injury cases often involve expert testimony. Expert testimony is a qualified account by a professional trained on the subject matter.
On the surface, any medical provider meets the qualification. The problem arises when the insurance company has an expert witness with more training or knowledge.
Consider a victim who suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of their accident, for example. The victim has their family provider as an expert witness, and the insurance company has a neurologist. The judge or jury would likely value the account of the neurologist more than the general practitioner.
Choose a doctor with specific knowledge about your injuries. Visiting a specialist may also enhance the level of treatment you receive.
Partner with a doctor who has excellent communication skills. One of the most critical elements of a personal injury case is medical records. Medical records outline the extent of your injuries, the cause, and the long-term impacts you face. Medical records shape the value of your claim.
A doctor must precisely communicate the diagnosis and treatment plan to the insurance company. Excellent communication skills in a doctor can also strengthen your claim in other areas.
For instance, your doctor must effectively communicate to you what you cannot do during recovery. If the doctor fails to provide the information and the insurance company catches you engaging in a restricted activity, your claim may suffer.
Keep in mind that you also play a role in the communication process. You should be open and honest to ensure the doctor has the necessary information. A doctor can only report to the insurance company what they know. You must also respond to your provider’s requests promptly. Work alongside the doctor to maintain a good communication chain.
Never underestimate the role a doctor plays in a personal injury
claim. To ensure you are paired with a doctor equipped to meet your needs and that your claim is handled fairly, speak with an attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Wells and McElwee, P.C., so that we can sit down and discuss these matters with you.