Avoid 10 Mistakes in Dealing with Doctors After an Injury

Many people fail to realize how important their interactions with the doctor are when treating an injury.  Common mistakes can make a difference in your case whether you have been hurt in a car accident, work injury or any other type of personal injury.  Not reporting pain and how the injury is affecting your work will limit the information documented in your records and will affect the doctor's opinion of your injury.  Here are the first four common mistakes made during medical treatment for injuries:

1.   Failing to See a Doctor Immediately

It is your responsibility to prove that you were injured by the accident.  If you have any pain or problems you need to immediately seek medical care.  Often insurance companies and juries believe that if you do seek immediate medical attention, then your condition may not be related to the accident.  Even relatively minor pain can lead to big problems later so see a doctor as soon as possible, because minor injuries may get worse.  The first words out of the insurance company’s attorney to the jury should not be, “Mr./Mrs. _________ did not bother seeing a doctor until 3 days after the accident.”

2. Talking With Your Medical Providers About Your Claims

The job of your medical providers is to focus on your injuries and provide medical treatment.  In order to treat you,  the medical providers do not have to know about your lawsuit or if you have an attorney.  Sometimes they will ask and you should tell the truth, but your concerns about your case and/or your legal issues should be avoided.  Whatever you say in confidence to your medical providers is not confidential when you bring a claim for injuries.  Basically anything and everything you tell your medical providers will end up in your medical records that the insurance company and potentially a judge and/or jury will get to see.  However, keep in mind that you will need to tell your medical providers how you were injured.  For example I was injured in a car accident on July 10, 2014 in Des Moines, I was lifting at work and my back went out on August 15, 2015, etc. 

3. Attempting to Hide Your Health History From Your Doctor

Your doctors and other medical providers will usually ask if you have previously had any injury to the same area of the body where you are having problems.  You need to be honest and not try to hide prior problems because they will eventually surface.  Your doctors will use your past medical history to diagnose and treat you.  If you provide incomplete or inaccurate information it can not only negatively affect the quality of your care, but will likely also hurt your legal case.  Eventually, all of your prior medical records will be made available to the insurance company.  Also, be honest when describing the accident to your medical providers.  Do not tell them that your car was “totaled” if the car was repaired.  The insurance company and their lawyers will attack your credibility with anything they can find and you do not want to give them extra ammunition. 

4. Showing up Late or Not Attending Medical Appointments and Therapy

The insurance company, their lawyers and eventually perhaps even a judge and/or jury will review your medical records.  When you fail to attend an appointment, your medical record will say “No show” or “DNS” meaning did not show.  While you may have a valid reason for missing your appointment, these still look bad.  More than one “No Show” or “DNS” will not only make your medical providers not happy, but may also make it look like you did not care about your medical treatment.  Showing up late or worse yet not showing up at all costs your medical providers money because they could have seen another patient which makes them upset.  Doctors who are upset with their patients often do not make good witnesses for their patients.  If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment please call at least 24 hours before it is scheduled.  You do not want to here from the insurance company’s lawyer, “Mr./Mrs. _________  missed 3 appointments and for 2 of the ones he/she went to he/she was late.  Did he/she really care about his/her injuries?”

Whether you have been injured in a car crash, work injury, motorcycle accident, dog bite or other personal injury accident, you will be seeing a doctor and need to know the mistakes to avoid when dealing with the doctor.  Learn three more mistakes in Part B or contact us now for a free no risk consultation.

Corey Walker
With 19 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.