- Get medical treatment as soon as possible – take the ambulance offered by the police to the Emergency Room – make sure to complain about EVERYTHING that has been injured.
- Get follow-up care as soon as possible with an appropriate specialist that treats traumatic injuries, somebody that knows how to write litigation reports and can appear as an expert witness.
- Continue to see your regular doctors for ongoing health issues, but not for your traumatic injuries
- Avoid “Doctor Referral Websites” – they often refer people to “medical mills” that do not provide good care and are frowned on by insurance companies
- Get all the tests your doctor recommends
- Get all the therapy your doctor recommends
- How an insurance company values your case
The Emergency Room
If you’ve been injured in an accident, the protocol for the police is to offer you an ambulance to the nearest Emergency Room. It’s a very good idea to take them up on this offer. The shock of an accident can often mask pain and some injuries need to be treated immediately for the best long-term results. The Emergency Room report also becomes a very important part of your case, as it shows your complaints and diagnoses immediately after your accident, proving well that your injuries were caused by your accident. A gap in treatment could injure your health and also ruin yuour case, so it is important to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible after an accident. Make sure to complain about anything EVERY part of your body that sustained trauma. For example, if you hit your head on the steering wheel, or banged your knee on the door of the car, mention this, even if there is not much pain yet. If you wake up the next morning with a headache or a swollen knee, you will have documentation. Don’t make anything up – just mention all parts of your body that sustained trauma.
Seek Appropriate Specialists for Follow-up Care
- If you have broken bones or injuries to your extremities, you will need to see an orthopedist.
- If you have a head injury, you will need to see a neurologist.
- For mild back pain a chiropractor might suffice, but for more serious back injuries, a medical doctor should also be consulted.
- If you have a laceration that leaving a mark on your face, a plastic surgeon should be consulted.
It is extremely important to make sure that your serious injuries are examined and diagnosed by doctors, not only by therapists. No-Fault, workers compensation and your health insurance will pay for specialists, so why not make sure that you are getting the best care. It will also improve your case to have higher level documentation.
Continue With Your Regular Medical Treatment with Your Usual Doctors
If you have a pre-existing condition such as a heart problem or diabetes, it is very important that you continue to go regularly to your usual doctors for care. Do make sure to mention your accident and ask them whether or not your condition worsened as a result of the accident. It’s better not to get treatment from your regular doctor for accident-related injuries as they are not experts on traumatic conditions, and because they may not know how to write reports to be submitted as evidence for your case. You also don’t want to be in a position where there is any lack of clarity about what insurance coverage is to be billed.
Avoid “Medical Referral Websites” and “Medical Mills”
There are places that will hook you up with “accident doctors and therapists” that take your insurance. Unfortunately, many of these places are scams and the referrals are for low-quality care at “Medical Mills.” Not only will you not be getting good care, the insurance companies are well aware of these places and will not take medical documentation seriously from these facilities. So, how do you know if you are treating at a “medical mill.” Look for very few doctors/therapists and many patients. Visits are very short. Treatment is not “hands-on,” mostly hot towels and machines (to save on staffing costs.) Sometimes these facilities look run down and do not have modern diagnostic equipment. Trust your gut, don’t be embarrassed to get up and leave.
Get All the Tests Your Doctors Recommend
Soft tissue injuries do not show up on X-rays, so if you did not have any fractures, your X-rays will be “normal.” If you are still experiencing pain after some time, your doctor will probably send your for MRI’s to diagnose your injuries. It is very important that you do this testing. It is the only way that appropriate treatment can be prescribed. This documentation is also crucial for our case.
Get All the Therapy Your Doctors Recommend
Physical therapy, chir0practic care, acupuncture, pain management, and other therapies are usually non-invasive. These modern treatments are often all a person needs for a complete recovery. Of course, they only work if you attend sessions consistently. Being diligent with therapy can help avoid the necessity of surgery.
How an Insurance Company Values Your Case
- Assess how the accident happened, assigning fault, the strength of the impact and how you were hurt
- Considers pre-existing injuries
- Reviews the hospital report, doctor’s reports and testing (MRI’s, etc.)
- Considers how much therapy was needed
- Considers how many specialists were required
- Considers the future recovery and the need for surgery
- Develops “impairment ratings” for future recovery
If you’ve been injured in an accident, how to find the right doctors to treat accident injuries is an important part of the picture. Of course, you must be diligent about the treatment with doctors and therapists. This will lead to a fuller recovery and a better case.