One of the biggest mistakes people make after an accident is failing to get proper medical care. Unfortunately, this can have dire consequences for both your health and your compensation in an injury case. Our legal team has compiled a few simple rules that can help you recover from an accident and protect your right to seek payment for your injuries.
Rules to Follow When Going to Accident-Related Medical Appointments
The first thing you should do after an injury is to go to the emergency room or see a doctor within the first 48 hours after your accident. Immediate care can prevent complications of a minor injury or intervene before a traumatic injury turns fatal. Nothing is more important than your health!
Once you have been evaluated by a medical professional, your doctors and specialists will want to carefully monitor your condition throughout your recovery. You may have a wide range of injury-related medical appointments, from post-surgery evaluations and progress checkups to ongoing physical therapy and psychiatric care.
Once your visits are scheduled, it’s imperative that you:
- Arrive on time. Try not to show up late to your appointments. Your doctors’ testimony is a vital piece of evidence in your case, and providers may refuse to see patients who arrive past their appointment time. If you arrive a few minutes early and have everything you need with you (insurance cards, prescriptions, etc.), you are showing your doctor that you are taking your treatment seriously.
- Don’t skip appointments. Gaps in medical treatment are like a red rag to a bull for insurance agents. It gives them an excuse to claim that your injury isn’t as serious as you say it is. Don’t skip or even reschedule appointments unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Watch for conflicts. You may have multiple appointments with different providers in the first few weeks following your injury. Always carry a calendar (paper or electronic) to make sure you don’t schedule two appointments at the same time.
- Be an active participant. Ask questions about why the doctors are choosing a certain course of treatment. Some insurance companies are unwilling to pay for expensive procedures unless conservative (and less expensive) treatments will not work for you. If your doctor recommends a procedure, ask him the specific reasons why it is vital to your recovery and include a similar statement in your notes.
- Clarify language. After several visits, your doctor may tell you that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This does not mean that your treatment is over. While your condition may have stabilized, you could still need physical therapy, a second doctor’s opinion, appointments with a pain management specialist, or other palliative care. Always inquire what the treatment plan will be after you reach MMI.
- Reschedule long journeys. You may be tempted to take a vacation or go out of town for the weekend while you are recovering from an injury. However, voluntarily spending time far away from your doctors could be misconstrued by an insurer as a sign that you are not actually injured.
- Be prepared to explain any gaps in treatment. Sometimes there are good reasons to skip or reschedule medical appointments, such as a death in the family, a family member in need, or another emergency. If you absolutely must miss a doctor’s visit, you should make a note on the calendar as to why you were unable to keep it. Better still, tell your doctor why you missed your last appointment so they can write the reason for your gap in treatment in your medical records.
Insurers will stop at nothing to deny injury victims rightful payment for their accident costs and income losses. It is vital that you have your own personal injury attorney by your side to get you the compensation you deserve. If you suffered a serious injury, the legal team at GriffithLaw would be honored to fight on your behalf. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or give us a call at (615) 807-7900 to learn more.