THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - COMPASSIONATE AND PROFESSIONAL LEGAL SERVICES FOR INJURY VICTIMS OF CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
When I meet with a new client for the first time, I often have to redirect the conversation and remind the client of what is truly important. The client comes in and is ready to talk the numbers . . . how much is the claim worth . . . how quickly will it take to get the claim paid . . ., and so forth. At that point I usually ask the magic question . . . Have you been to see the doctor yet? The client will usually follow up by telling me they had to take an ambulance to the ER or went to an urgent care. Then I usually follow up with this . . . Have you been to the doctor yet (sarcasm intended)? Despite what you may see on television from the goofy television ads of large personal injury law firms, there is a very methodical and detailed process to get you, the injured victim, from the accident to the payout.
The most important thing you can do following any type of injury is to seek medical treatment! Both from a personal level and as your lawyer, the entire process will not amount to much and no amount of money in the world will compensate you if you don't seek the treatments to get better! Very early in every personal injury consultation I do I inform the client to seek medical treatment as early as possible after your accident, and as often as is necessary, to get you better.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE MEDICAL TREATMENTS TO AN INJURY CASE?
If you are involved in an accident that is serious enough that you need a lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim, the most important witness to prove your medical damages is your treating doctor. It is critical to the claim that you to receive medical treatment from a qualified medical provider who is interested in your short term treatments and long term recovery. The medical provider should be willing to express to the insurance company or a jury on your behalf that your injuries were caused by the traumatic event at issue.
Most of my clients initially worry that the medical treatments they need for their injuries may be expensive and prolonged. I specifically address this concern by bringing up two points. First, many providers will take back what is called a "Lien on Proceeds" to offer you the necessary treatments now without you having to come out of pocket for payments. In other words, by making the promise to pay from your future settlement, many medical providers will go ahead and offer you necessary medical treatments. Second, and I think most importantly, you should never delay or put off getting medically necessary medical treatments when the long term health implications could be severe. This is your health we are talking about and I would implore you, in any situation, not to take short cuts on your health.
WHAT DO I NEED TO TELL MY DOCTOR AFTER MY INJURY?
All communications with your doctor must be open and honest. You should be ready to provide honest information about your medical history, to specifically explain what happened and how you suffered your injuries, and how you have physically felt and reacted since the injury. Your doctor needs accurate information on your condition, physically and emotionally, before the accident occurred. If you some limitations or aches and pains prior to the accident, be honest about it and then be prepared to let your doctor know how the trauma changed your physical well being. Be specific about where you have pain, the severity of the pain, and the frequency of the pain. Be specific!
While receiving treatments, be specific about treatments that seem to be helping or worsening your condition. The reasonable expectation is that as your treatment goes along, your symptoms will get better. If you are not improving tell your doctor. Never hesitate to your doctor about what is wrong, what will be needed to get better, and how long it will take to get better.
Make sure all of your medical providers are making detailed notes of your comments and complaints. Write down your questions ahead of time so you don't forget to ask something at the appointment.
Being able to talk with your doctor is important both from a legal standpoint and from a personal wellness standpoint. As your attorney, I have to be able to point to medical records and observations from medical providers so that I can prove the essential elements of your personal injury claim. Delay in going for treatment after an accident is an argument the insurance company will use in an attempt to diminish your personal injury claim.
THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU MUST ASK YOUR DOCTOR AFTER AN ACCIDENT
- What is the Cause of My Injuries?
This is obvious after you've been in an accident, but your must tell the doctor how you got injured! It's vital that for your injury claim that the doctor knows why you are there getting treatments. Be specific about the accident. Tell the doctor everything that happened. Never assume the doctor knows why you are there . . . tell them why you are there. This disclosure alone will aid the doctor in diagnosing your injuries.
- What Is Wrong With Me? When Will I Begin to Feel Better?
Your diagnosis (what is wrong with me now) and your prognosis (what is the probable final outcome from these injuries) are the primary driving force behind the potential claim you have for your injuries. Your doctor may not be able to give a definite prognosis until your medical treatment is completed and you reach maximum medical improvement. If your doctor is unable to answer these questions, you may need to see a specialist or seek a second opinion.
- Will I Need Future Treatments? How Much Will That Cost?
Once your immediate medical services are completed, ask your doctor if you will likely need future medical treatment and how much these treatments will cost. The cost of future medical treatment is recoverable in your personal injury claim. Your doctor must provide his or her opinion about the need of future treatment and the how much these treatments will cost.
- Can I Work? Can I Return to My Old Job?
Any lost wages from missed work due to your injuries are recoverable as well. To make this claim and receive compensation, your doctor must explain in the medical records how long you need to be off work to recover from your injuries. Even after you return to work, are you able to resume your previous duties or do you need accommodations and/or a change in your assigned duty. The doctor must note any work restrictions, and how long these restrictions are effective. If you must change occupations or are permanently disabled, the doctor must note this in order that you can recover on your claim for permanent reduction in wages.
- Will I Continue to Experience Pain Into the Future?
Recoverable damages for pain and suffering will also account for future discomfort caused by your injuries. Since pain is subjective and compensation for pain and suffering can be all over the board, it is critical to describe pain complaints to your doctor. Specific examples of things you could physically do prior to the accident that are now impaired come in handy and should be noted to the doctor.
Explain the severity and duration of your pain, the types of activities you are no longer able to do or enjoy doing because of your pain, and whether you are taking pain medications. Do you suffer from depression or anxiety since your accident? Has your mood changed since the accident? Be as detailed as you can so your doctor has a clear picture of how your accident has impacted your life and is likely to impact it in the future.
- Will I Make a Full Recovery or am I Permanently Injured?
Does your doctor believe you have a permanent injury, if so then the doctor needs to put that opinion in writing. Does your doctor recommend specific limitations on your activities at work or at home?
Even after you are released from care, check in with the doctor periodically if you are not 100% better. If you never return to the doctor before your case is settled or won at trial, the other side will always argue that you did not need to return to the doctor because you were better. Hopefully, the doctor will recommend some new or additional treatment that may help you feel better in addition to documenting that your suffering is ongoing
THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - DEDICATED TO SERVING CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS IN CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
As a Car Accident and Personal Injury lawyer in my solo practice, I will take all necessary steps to protect your rights and earn just compensation for you as a result of your accident. Through my efforts, I can bring about much needed financial relief to a victim who may be suffering from serious injuries and permanent disability. Being a small firm allows you to have direct access to your lawyer during this entire process, with open lines of communication as we work together towards a viable solution to your specific case.
Being an experienced personal injury attorney, I have experience dealing with insurance companies. I also know where the courthouse is and will not be afraid to call the insurance company to the mat in front of a judge and jury if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or due to the negligent or reckless acts of another in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, North Charleston, or any of the other fine communities of the Low Country, and need to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please contact me to set up your free case evaluation today. Let me help prevent you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. I am serious and I am here for you! Contact The McMillian Law Firm today @ 843-900-1306