This is the third installment in our Anatomy of a Lawsuit series. So far, we have discussed how to hire the right attorney and the investigation undertaken by the attorney once hired.
The next topic is without doubt, the most important part of a personal injury lawsuit: getting treatment.
Emergency Room Visit
For some victims, treatment begins immediately in the emergency room, but for most people, treatment won’t begin for a couple of days when the pain isn’t going away. The first thing you should do is start a journal or a log. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a small notebook or a Word document will do. You should track the name of the doctor or facility, the date, your symptoms, the diagnosis, any medication prescribed, and the recommended follow up care.
We oftentimes see medical records that contain errors or discrepancies from what the patient or doctor said. Some doctors dictate a recap of your visit which is typed up by another person, others use real time charting with a series of clicks and check marks. Humans are not infallible and mistakes happen. Having your own log to compare to your medical records can help your attorney get you the best possible recovery.
Follow-Up With Treatment
The next thing to do is follow through with treatment! Skipping appointments, or taking months to have recommended treatment completed will hurt your case in the long run. The attorney for the at-fault driver will use these gaps in treatment to try and minimize your injuries, or make it appear that are lying about the severity of your injuries. If your primary care provider recommends physical therapy twice a week for six weeks, get it! If they tell you to follow-up after physical therapy, do it! Too often, we push through the pain because we are busy with our jobs, families, and friends. There is nothing more damaging to your lawsuit than not completing all the recommended medical treatment.
A lot of people fully recover after being in a car collision, however some have lasting injuries. If the treatment isn’t resolving your injuries, or if your doctors have said you’ve reached maximum medical improvement, then you are dealing with permanent injuries. The same goes for surgery. Many times, surgery will be recommended but not required. Some clients choose to forego surgery, and simply live with the pain for many different reasons. It is important to work closely with your attorney, and your doctor to properly document things such as permanency and surgical recommendations.
Medical treatment, or more specifically, the medical reports and bills generated from getting that treatment is the only thing the at-fault driver’s attorney will use to determine the value of your lawsuit. Be your own best advocate, and make sure you are seeking, and completing all your medical treatment. Have a legal question about your case? Call our offices, one of our attorneys will be glad to speak with you.