If you are hurt in a car accident your health care providers will be a part of your team that is trying to achieve two goals simultaneously: (1) a quick recovery and (2) establishment of your recoverable damages. Some claimants make the mistake of arranging their medical care to maximize the potential settlement value of a case. This is a mistake. Think health care first, accident claim later.
If you have been injured in an accident, you should not be managing your health care with a view towards your potential accident claim and settlement. You should make decisions about which health care provider you will see and how often based solely on your medical condition. For example, the frequency of visits should not be based on the fact that the more visits you have the higher your medical bill thus the higher your potential settlement. The frequency of visits should be bases on medical need. Period.
Be brutally honest with your health care provider
Your doctor cannot deliver the highest quality care without an accurate history. If you have been in prior accidents or have had other serious injuries you need to disclose these to your doctor. It’s impossible to hide prior accidents from the insurance company and what you do when you hide significant history from your doctor is to make his diagnosis as to the cause of you current pain suspect.
Don’t exaggerate the accident facts
Don’t tell your doctor that your car was “totaled” when all you really had was a scratch on the bumper. If your doctor is called to testify at trial about your injuries he will be embarrassed at trial by the insurance lawyer if he is the last to know that the property damage to your car was insignificant.
Don’t exaggerate your symptoms
You do want to make sure you doctor understands all of the current symptoms that you may be experiencing when you visit but there is no need to exaggerate them. This isn’t going to make your case any stronger and may in fact, backfire terribly if what you are telling your doctor about what you can and can’t do on a daily basis is contradicted by video surveillance.
Follow your doctor’s directions
If you get a prescription for physical therapy or a referral to another specialist, go there! If you don’t follow through on your doctor’s plan for your recovery, and your recovery ends up taking longer than expected, the insurance company lawyer will blame you. The same goes for missing appointments and taking all prescribed medication. If you consistently miss appointments or fail to fill prescriptions you can expect to hear the argument made at trial that you must not have been hurting that badly at the time.
Ben Glass is a personal injury attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. His book, The Five Deadly Sins that Can Wreck Your Car Accident Case is available for free. Visit www.TheAccidentBook.com