Most people think that as long as they go to the doctor after a car accident, then everything will be good with their personal injury case. This is not always the case. When you have a car accident case, you need to remember that the insurance company is going to scrutinize your medical records. There is no way around this. This is why it is important to make sure that your records accurately reflect your injury. Insurance companies and their lawyers love to focus on medical records, and everything your doctor says, and doesn’t say, about you and your injury.
You may be asking yourself “How can I control what goes in my medical records, when it is my doctor that writes them? While you can’t tell your doctor what to write, you can take certain steps to ensure that your records will contain the most important information.
Here are 5 things you must do to make sure your medical records accurately reflect the seriousness of your injury, and to maximize your Florida personal injury claim.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately After Your Car Accident
Car accidents are unexpected, and usually when someone is in one, they are on their way somewhere and they have a particular time that they have to be there. Because of this, a lot of people decline medical attention after a car accident, even if they are in some pain. Worse yet, some people also choose to wait awhile after their car accident to see if the pain goes away by itself. This is a mistake!
The first thing an insurance company will look for in your medical records is when you first complained of your injury. Merely complaining to the Police Officer is not enough. Insurance companies believe that if you are hurt, you will go see a doctor. If you don’t go to a doctor, then you must not be hurt. Unfortunately, many jurors feel the same way. So, the longer you wait to go to the doctor, you can bet the insurance company will use this as a reason why they are making you an offer for far less than what your injury is worth.
Tell Your Doctor How You Were Injured
Believe it or not, your doctor does listen to you. And, he/she most likely writes down most of what you tell him/her. This is also what the insurance company believes. There is a narrative section in your medical records for every visit you make to the doctor. This means the doctor will summarize what you tell him/her. If your medical records do not mention your car accident, or when your pain first began, the insurance company will assume that your injury was not caused by the accident. This will obviously affect what, if anything, the insurance company may will be willing to pay you.
Be Completely Honest with Your Doctor
The best way to make sure that your medical records properly reflect your pain and injury is to tell your doctor everything, truthfully! Unfortunately, some people downplay their pain. This is a mistake! If you downplay your pain, your medical records will reflect a far less serious injury than you may actually have. Remember, the insurance company is only looking at your records. From your records, the insurance company will make an assessment as to the severity of your injury. If you are not truthful about this to your doctor, the insurance company will value your claim wrong. This may cost you money in whatever recovery you may get. So, make sure you tell your doctor exactly how you feel at every visit, so your doctor can write it all down and properly document your claim.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
How many times have you gone to a doctor only then to be referred to another doctor or for some procedure? Isn’t it a hassle to then have to go to multiple doctors? Often times, because life is busy, people tend not to follow up with their doctor’s recommendations.
In a car accident claim, following up on your doctor’s advice is just as important as seeing your doctor in the first place. If you fail to do so, the insurance company will not believe that your injury is serious (because people with a serious injury would follow up with the referral). Moreover, if you have to go to trial on your claim, you will have to try to explain and give the jury a good reason why you failed to follow up on your doctor’s recommendations. In our experience, whenever you have to try to explain these types of issues, you lose credibility with a jury. Because of this, it is important that you do everything your doctor asks of you.
Follow Up on Your Medical Treatment
Equally bad, if not worse, is failing to follow up on medical treatment. When you are involved in a car accident claim, it is important to have routine documented medical treatment. If you fail to consistently treat, this creates “gaps” in your treatment. Insurance companies love gaps in treatment. If gaps exist (depending how big the gap is), the insurance company will argue that your initial injury healed, and that any further treatment after the gap is not related to your accident. This is a regular argument that we hear from insurance companies, and it can drastically affect the value of your claim.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
- Your Guide to Florida Car Accident Claims;
- The Ultimate Guide to Florida Slip and Fall Cases; and
- 5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case
which are available at our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813) 419-3866 to talk directly to an Apollo Beach Personal Injury Attorney now.