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9 Mistakes People Make When Seeing Doctors After an Accident

INJURIES AFTER AN ACCIDENT

When car accident injuries result in the need for medical care, your medical bills can be covered by your insurance claim — as long as you’re careful about what you say to your doctor. Car accident lawyers often see clients make innocent mistakes at the doctor’s office that end up costing them insurance compensation.

If you’re seeing a doctor for injuries related to a car accident, you should be aware of the most common mistakes people make at the doctor’s office. Watching what you say and taking your appointments seriously protects you financially and helps your personal injury lawyer recover the highest compensation value available to you.

How Common Mistakes at the Doctor’s Office Can Cost You

Insurance exists to protect you financially if you’re injured in an accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies actively work to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals by using their own words against them to get out of paying for an accident claim.

What you say to a doctor directly impacts your case. Conflicting statements, exaggerated claims, and other inconsistencies in your medical records will undermine your credibility. There’s no question that an insurance company will be quick to notice these points and will use them to reduce or deny your claim.

If you have been injured in an accident, do all you can to avoid making the following mistakes.

1. Waiting to See a Doctor

Always see a doctor after a car crash. Many injuries, like a concussion, spinal injuries, or organ damage, aren’t immediately apparent. Seeing a doctor protects your health by making it more likely that a doctor will identify any potential injuries.

After a car accident, minor injuries can turn out to be more severe than they originally seem. Getting medical care immediately after an accident also establishes the accident as the cause of any injuries that worsen or don’t become apparent until later.

2. Not Keeping Documentation

Documentation is the key to a successful case. The more documentation you have, the stronger a case your car accident lawyer can build.

Tips to preserve evidence after an accident include:

  • Take pictures of the scene
  • Photograph injuries as they go through stages of healing
  • Request and save copies of medical reports, lab work, and test results
  • Keep copies of all injury-related receipts
  • Save all papers sent by your insurance company
  • Have copies of W-2s or pay stubs to demonstrate lost income

The documentation you gather will help to prove the extent of your injuries and how they have cost you.

3. Talking About the Case

People don’t always realize that medical treatment has a direct impact on an insurance claim. Injured patients may assume that what they say to a doctor is confidential — but it’s not.

Medical records become a part of your insurance claim. When an insurance company won’t settle, your records become evidence in your lawsuit.

Keep your legal affairs private and don’t discuss the case with your doctor.

4. Exaggerating the Extent of Injuries

Never fake injuries or pretend they’re worse than they are in the hope of increasing your insurance payment.

Doctors are medical professionals. Particularly in cases involving an insurance claim, they are experienced at spotting lies and exaggerations from the patients they treat. Try to be as detailed and accurate as possible when describing the effects of an injury.

5. Failing to Accurately Describe Injuries

Give your doctor detailed information about how your injuries are healing and how they are limiting you. Any time you notice pain, discomfort, or limitations you didn’t have before the accident, write it down so you don’t forget, and then share it with your doctor so it becomes evidence in your file. 

6. Forgetting to Mention Health History

You should be honest and thorough about your medical history. This is particularly important if you have prior injuries, medical conditions, or chronic pain issues. An insurance company can interpret a failure to mention prior conditions as an attempt to collect money for health problems that weren’t caused by the accident.

7. Not Following Medical Advice

Always follow medical advice. If your doctor advises you to refrain from certain activities or take steps to support your recovery and you don’t listen, an insurance company can claim that you are partly to blame for the impact of your injuries because you didn’t follow your doctor’s instructions. 

8. Missing Appointments

Never miss medical appointments for an injury related to a car accident. Skipping appointments makes it appear as though treatment isn’t a priority and your injuries aren’t serious.

The insurance company can also make the case that the effects of an injury are partly due to the fact that you stopped receiving medical care before you were instructed by your doctor to do so.

Even if you’re feeling better, it’s essential to continue to attend follow-up appointments. Failure to complete a medical care regimen can put your compensation at risk.

9. Stopping Treatment

No one likes going to the doctor. If you have a busy schedule, many responsibilities, or limitations on travel or mobility, going to the doctor can feel like an inconvenience and a waste of time once you’re feeling better.

Remember that medical care involving an insurance claim supports documentation and evidence for your compensation just as much as it supports your physical recovery. When you stop treatment prematurely, an insurance company can use it as evidence to undermine the extent of your injuries. 

Making the Most of Your Accident Claim

Most of the time, car accident lawyers can successfully settle a case through negotiation — but there’s no guarantee you won’t end up in court.

Fortunately, the experienced trial attorneys at Slater & Zurz are ready and willing to go to court if that’s what it takes to get the most compensation for their clients.

Preserving evidence and following through with medical recommendations are important elements of a successful case. These steps combined with the representation of an experienced car accident lawyer can help you get the most out of an insurance claim. 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’re ready to learn about your financial options, call Slater & Zurz to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.