If you have been injured in a car accident, you may feel the need to “be tough” and minimize your injuries in the eyes of others. But when you are recovering from a traumatic car accident, you should always be honest about your symptoms. If not, as any car accident lawyer will tell you, you could potentially hurt your chances of receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.
The importance of medical damages in a car accident case
A major component of a car accident case is “medical damages.” These are calculated by determining the amount of expenses you incurred seeking a diagnosis and treatment for your injuries. These calculations depend on several factors, including the nature of the medical treatment you receive and the type of medical providers who rendered that treatment. A health care provider must first diagnose your injury before he or she can provide appropriate treatment for that injury. Tests and other diagnostic tools are usually required to reach that diagnosis.
Not seeking follow-up medical treatment
Some victims of car accidents are taken to the emergency room by ambulance, directly from the accident scene. However, many want to simply skip the necessary follow-up care by their family physician. Although you may want to put the entire incident behind you as soon as possible, you may be increasing your risk of medical complications or overlooked injuries, which can ultimately affect the value of your case.
Failing to report all of your symptoms
Sometimes, victims in car accidents do not realize that even the smallest aches and pains may be related to, or caused by, the accident. You may be focused on receiving treatment for a broken arm, and fail to mention the headaches or dizziness that you have been experiencing since the accident. What you may not realize is that these seemingly minor symptoms may indicate a more serious medical issue. Remember, your car accident lawyer cannot help you obtain compensation for unreported injuries.
Ignoring your physical limitations
Another big mistake is not owning up to your physical limitations. You can push yourself too hard while you are still recovering, which could result in reinjuring yourself. If you refuse to seek medical attention when you need it, you may set back your recovery. While this may not seem important, doing these things can prevent you from receiving full compensation. For example, if you insist on going back to work before you are really ready, you will be cutting off your compensation for lost wages.
Not following your physician’s instructions
You must follow your doctor’s instructions, for the treatment to be considered part of your damages. If, for some reason, you disagree or have concerns, discuss those concerns with your doctor before you ignore his or her recommendations. You can always seek a second opinion if necessary.
Physicians and hospitals offer more valuable treatment
Many clients do not realize that strong prejudices exist with regard to the more non-mainstream forms of medical treatment, such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, and acupuncture. As a result, treatment from a medical doctor, hospital or medical clinic is typically given more weight or legitimacy.
The limited value of physical therapy
While, physical therapy may be a common treatment for many personal injuries, this type of medical treatment is often considered to be lower in the pecking order than other forms of treatment. If you receive a couple of weeks of physical therapy, prescribed and administered by your physician, an insurance adjuster will likely lump that in with other medical expenses. However, if you receive physical therapy for several months and that therapy makes up the largest part of your medical bills, the value this treatment adds to your case may be limited.
Treatment by non-physician healers may not help your damages claim
Unless you have a doctor’s prescription for treatment by non-physician healers other nontraditional treatments, this type of care is usually given even less weight than physical therapy. Non-physician healers typically include acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and herbal healers. However, this does not mean you will not be reimbursed for these expenses. Instead, the value of this treatment will likely not be as high as other traditional forms of medical treatment.
If you have questions regarding car accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, contact us online or call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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