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HAVENS MALCZYNSKI GRIGOLLA, LLP

Why Is It Critical To Follow Doctor’s Orders In A Personal Injury Case?


It’s critical to follow your doctor’s orders because personal injury cases become a question of credibility. Unless you’re in a medical facility being treated with around the clock care, the insurance companies will bring up missing appointments or the plaintiff, the injured party, failing to follow a doctor’s recommendation. This paints the plaintiff in a light in which it doesn’t seem as if the injuries are real. Thus, when the doctor tells you to be at physical therapy and then you don’t go, or if you miss a scheduled appointment with a chiropractor, then the defense will say that you’re not really injured.

The insurance company gets all of the records associated with your treatment and uses this to build a case. They can do this because they’re going to pay money to settle the claim, they’re entitled to all the medical records relating to the injuries that resulted from the claim. Once they see that you weren’t doing what you’re supposed to do pursuant to your doctor’s orders, then they get to argue that the injuries aren’t as serious as the plaintiff claims.

What Is A Gap In Care? How Does It Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

A gap in care is when you go to the doctor for a couple months, stop, and then you go back six months later for the same or similar injuries. If you start going to the doctor right after a claim, it gets better, then you stop, and then it gets worse again forcing you end up back is one thing; and it’s typically not very harmful to your case. If you go to the doctor, stopped going, and then you go back and say the injury is the same as it was before, then that would likely affect your claim. This allows the argument that the injury is not as bad as described; that you’re only receiving medical care it for settlement purposes. It depends on what the length of the gap in care is, but we recommend that when you are getting care in a personal injury case that you follow the standard schedule for care recommended by the doctors.

As long as you’re following the doctor’s orders, recommendations, and the scheduling, then there’s not much else you can do as far as medical improvement.

What Information Does My Doctor Require In A Personal Injury Case? Can Any of It Be Used Against Me?

Your doctor is going to need you to tell them everything that you’re experiencing. It’s not unusual for people to not want to give all the information about the injuries they’re suffering; to downplay the pain. You need to tell the doctor everything, because the defense attorney will get your medical records. The records will show, for example, that you’ve been suffering from a neck, lower leg, and a hip injury; then when they pull the records if you hadn’t mentioned the hip then they’ll discount your claim. They’ll mark it as a lower leg and a neck injury because in the records it was never noted that you had a hip injury. It’s important to tell the doctor all the areas where you’re suffering. It’s also important to ensure that you properly articulate the pain levels.

If the doctor asks you on a scale of 1 to 10 then you need to know what your pain level is and be truthful; don’t downplay the pain. You also don’t want to play up pain that’s not really there. You don’t want to be at a pain level 10 two years after a minor fender bender because that doesn’t make sense. You want to make sure you just tell the doctor everything absolutely truthfully. If you forget, don’t, or you refuse to provide the doctors with all the information about your injuries then it will be used against you down the road.

Insurance companies have nurses on staff that review all of your medical records, then they create summaries with a recommendation for what your treatment should have been for the injuries that you articulated.

How Important Are Evidence And Witnesses In A Personal Injury Claim?

The evidence and witnesses are paramount to proving you case. We recommend that you take photos if you’re in an accident and are able to. If you’re in a car accident you should take photos of the car and the area in which the accident happened. If it was a trip, fall, or similar then take pictures of the surrounding area. It’s important to have photos from the date the incident occurred because things change. That evidence builds and proves your case.

For witnesses, it can depend on the circumstance as to how important they are. If it’s a questionable liability case then they become a huge factor. We always recommend that if you’re able, feel free to hand over a card or note to the other driver if it’s a car accident, or get information from a person at the place you fell. We also recommend, if you if you see anybody standing around and you’re able to, ask them for their contact information. That way we can contact them down the road to get their statements. The best evidence and witnesses are absolutely important to prove the claim against the defendant.

For more information on Following Doctor’s Orders In A PI Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (626) 385-6303 today.

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