Important Questions To Discuss With Your Doctor While Seeking Treatment For Your Personal Injury Case
One of the questions clients ask when they visit one of our West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers is what the definition of injury means for their case. Since we are a personal injury law firm located in West Palm Beach, our injury and accident attorneys have the answers you are searching for on how to give you the best opportunity to win your accident injury case. As a matter of fact, our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys almost exclusively represent people who are bringing injury claims against people who were hurt in Palm Beach County and the rest of south Florida.
Important questions to discuss with your doctor while seeking treatment for your personal injury case:
If you were injured because of someone else’s carelessness then you may be able to bring a personal injury case against them, their employer, or the company that owns the property where you were hurt.
One of the most important things you should do after you were hurt is to immediately seek medical treatment from a licensed doctor.
However, before you see a doctor it is important to know what questions to ask your doctor and how their treatment will not only get you better but also how the doctors records will support your personal injury case.
Over the years our law firm has recognized a handful of questions that our clients ask us that we believe are important to discuss with your doctor or healthcare provider both before and during the time you are receiving medical treatment.
Of course, there may be other questions to discuss with your doctor, however, these questions should help you create your own specific questions related to your injury case.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor After An Accident
1. What type of medicine do you specialize in and do you have experience providing medical treatment for people who were injured in an accident?
It important to ask what type of medicine your doctor specializes in so you can receive the best possible care for your injury.
Just like different lawyers practice different types of law (such as real estate law, criminal law, and family law), doctors too have different specialties.
For instance, let’s say you injured your foot because of a slip and fall incident that occurred at a shopping mall.
In this case, it would be pertinent to seek medical care from either a sports medicine doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or a foot and ankle surgeon a/k/a podiatrist.
Making Sense Of Medical Treatment
With this set of facts, it would not make sense to seek medical treatment from an internal medicine doctor or an oncologist.
Thus, it is advised that you discuss the types of injuries you sustained in the incident.
Make sure that both your lawyer and your doctors understand your physical complaint and refer you to the appropriate medical professional.
Another example would be if you hurt your back or neck in a car accident.
In this case you will most likely be referred to a chiropractor or an orthopedic surgeon who focuses their medical practice helping people with spine and spinal cord injuries and surgery.
Again, who you seek medical treatment from will depend on your specific injury.
It is always recommended that you speak with your lawyer and doctors as to what your medical issues you experience so they can refer you to the best healthcare provider to assist you in your insurance claim.
Will The Doctor Take My Insurance?
2. Will the doctor take my health insurance? Or who will pay for my medical bills if I do not have health insurance?
If you have health insurance, then it is likely in your best interests to request that your doctor bill your health insurance carrier.
In our law firm’s experience, it is best practices to make sure that the doctor you are seeking treatment from for your accident is submitting your medical bills to the health insurance company.
Why is this important? There are several reasons why it is important.
First, at the end of your personal injury case, it may likely make attempts at reduction of your expenses easier.
In the event your doctor does not bill your insurance then he or she may want to charge you retail as to the medical procedure or treatment you received.
However, if you have health insurance then the doctor will be contractually bound to accept the amount negotiated with the health insurance company. This amount is virtually always lower than “retail medical prices.”
Then, in the case the insurance carrier seeks subrogation, then you will most likely always pay out less of your personal injury settlement to cover medical expenses.
If you do not maintain health insurance, you can still seek medical treatment and care for your accident related injury(s).
In the event you are like many other people in Florida and you do not have medical insurance.
In this case there are other ways you can seek medical treatment and obtain financial coverage for such injuries.
For instance, if you were involved in an automobile accident then your doctor and healthcare providers can submit your medical bills to your car insurance company under the policy’s personal injury protection coverage (this is also referred to as P.I.P.).
However, lets say you slipped and fell over a broken piece of flooring in the middle of a restaurant, then you may be eligible for medical payments coverage (also referred to as Med Pay or M.P.C.) under the premises’ owner’s general commercial liability insurance policy.
These are questions to discuss with your attorney to better understand who will be responsible for your medical bills after an accident.
Important fact: Data suggests that nearly 2,600,000 Floridians do not have any form of health insurance.
3. How often do I need to treat for my injuries and should I advise my doctor of how my injuries and pain impact my daily life?
One of the more frequent questions we receive in our personal injury practice relates to how often our clients need to present to the doctor and what to tell their doctor after an accident.
The general response from our attorneys and staff is that you should seek medical treatment from your doctor as often as your doctor requires and as long as the medical treatment is benefiting you.
We understand that this answer is very general, however, there is importance to it.
However, if the medical treatment you are receiving has plateaued, then you may have reached maximum medical improvement (or also known as MMI).
It is also recommended that you stress to your doctor what your injuries are and where the pain is.
By telling your doctor about the location of pain on your body you are assisting your doctor to properly document your injuries, and in turn by documenting the issues, you are helping your personal injury case.
Your lawyer will be able to use the medical records documenting your pain and injuries to try and influence the insurance company’s adjuster in the goal of recovering the most amount of financial compensation for your case.
Where Do I Seek Tratment For My Injuries
4. Do I need to seek treatment from other doctors or diagnostic centers for my personal injury case and if so what type of treatment can I expect?
As discussed above, depending on your specific injury, you will be referred to a specific doctor.
However, generally, most people who are inured in an accident do not always need surgery.
In these cases you may be referred to a pain management doctor who will asses your injuries and, in some cases, recommend a course of pain management therapy that may include injections.
Some of the types of injections or medication pain management doctors recommend for injury cases are:
Trigger point injections: these are types of injections that place the necessary medicine directly into the area of pain. These injections usually occur in the upper back, spine, or other muscular area that is experiencing muscle spasm or pain.
Epidural injections: An epidural is an injection where a doctor will inject medicine into the “epidural space” near the spinal cord.
Generally these types of injections are used for spinal injuries and performed under fluoroscopy.
The doctors that typically use this form of medical treatment are pain management doctors or orthopedic surgeons and this procedure is done in a medical office or surgical center.
Pain medication: Pain medicine is a common form of medical treatment for people who suffer from pain after an accident.
There are many different types of pain medication, however, the most common medication prescribed includes tramadol, Neurontin, oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin, ibuprofen, and Celebrex to name a few.
If you are prescribed any of these types of medicines, it is critical that you follow your doctors instructions and advise your doctor should you have any adverse complications.
Diagnostic Test And Accident Cases
5. What is a “diagnostic test” and what role does the testing play in my accident case?
There are certainties in life: death, taxes, and after an accident, you’ll get a diagnostic test.
So what is a “diagnostic test” and how will it help my doctor treatment for my accident case?
A diagnostic test is a medical procedure used to confirm, or determine the presence of, an injury or disease in a person.
The main purpose of your doctor referring you to get a diagnostic test is so your doctor will have a better understanding of your injury before the need for surgery or other medical treatment.
Some of the most common diagnostic tests used in cases where someone was injured include MRI’s, CT scans, and x-rays.
In most cases your doctor will refer you to a diagnostic facility to obtain an MRI to obtain films that depict your body’s structure.
The MRI films will first be read (or interpreted) by a radiologist and then the results will be sent to your doctor who will then prescribe the necessary medical treatment for your injury.
There may be other types of testing your doctor may prescribe after the accident. However, since each case and injury is different, you will need to discuss the specific medical treatment best for you.
Should you take only one thing away from reading this article we hope it is this: It is important for you, the injured person, to discuss in detail your medical care and treatment after the accident.
Since it is your case, you must be informed of your options, and always seek medical treatment if you feel uncomfortable or concerned about your health.