Six tips for working with your doctor after an injury

Here are six tips for working with medical professionals after you have been injured:

1. Get treatment immediately. Don’t wait to seek treatment or try to tough it out. If your primary care physician cannot see you immediately, go to prompt care or even the ER if necessary, to make sure you get the care you need. If you try to wait to see if things will improve on their own, you may make your injuries worse. Waiting to get treatment can even hurt your claim for damages, as it invites attacks from the insurance company and their lawyers that if you were really hurt, you would have sought treatment.

2. Be a good patient and keep all your appointments with your doctors or therapists. Arrive on time for your appointments. If you miss appointments or are late, you risk irritating your medical care team and making them less motivated to work on your behalf later when pursuing a claim. Also if your doctor recommends a course of treatment and you skip appointments or don’t follow through on treatment, you may make it appear to the insurance company or even to a jury that you weren’t serious about getting better, which can hurt your claim for damages.

3. Tell your doctors everything that hurts or any problems that you are having related to your injury. Make a list of any pain you are experiencing and activities you’re having trouble with at home and at work. Share your list with your doctor. Bringing a list with you will help you remember to tell your doctor everything, and help you avoid missing important details. This is also important for your claim, because if you fail to mention pains in certain parts of your body, perhaps because it isn’t your most serious symptom at the time, and you have difficulty with that area of your body months later, the absence of any complaints in your earlier medical records will lead to the insurance company and its lawyers arguing that those injuries must not be related to your accident, or that maybe you hurt yourself some other way later on.

4. Ask your doctor if, and when, you can return to work. Let your doctor know if you are having any pain or trouble once you are back at work. People are often hesitant to ask their doctor about returning to work, but they can help you decide if you are ready to go back to work, if it is safe for you to return to work, and address problems you may have once you are back at work. Getting clearance from your doctor can also help prevent more serious subsequent injuries that can result from trying to work through pain and other injuries.

5. Make a list of questions that you have for your doctor before arriving for appointments. Doctors are busy and sometimes in a hurry to move on to their next patient, but if you come prepared with questions you are more likely to get the answers you need.

6. Don’t stop treatment until you are better. Follow through on your treatments until you are pain free, or until your doctor tells you that you have recovered as much as you are going to recover. If you stop treating too early, it may lengthen the period you’re suffering and it will make it harder for your lawyers to prove how long you were recovering from your injuries. We hope these tips are helpful. Please feel free to call our office or visit our website for more information.

Bolen Robinson & Ellis, LLP