Don’t Make These 9 Mistakes After A Car Accident

August 4, 2023
Auto Accidents
by Kolton Opdahl

At Opdahl Regenerative Medicine, we want to make sure you don’t make these 9 mistakes after a car accident. Personal Injury Claims are unfamiliar territory for many people. Because of this, there are hiccups that a lot of people run into. Today we discuss 9 of the most common mistakes made after a car accident, specifically during the process of receiving medical care.

First things first, it’s important to note that everything you do and say at the doctor’s office is being recorded / documented, so make sure that you’re completely honest in your reports without misleading your medical provider.

Mistake #1: Waiting to See a Doctor

Many defense lawyers will argue that your symptoms are not as bad as you say there are. This is if you wait to see a doctor for a few weeks following the incident. Insurance companies won’t believe you’re hurt badly if you don’t seek immediate medical attention, which means they probably won’t want to compensate for your expenses. For this reason, DON’T WAIT to seek medical treatment whether you feel immediate symptoms or not. The sooner you get in, the better your case outcome will look, and most importantly, you can find out if there are any serious internal damages from the accident. 

On the other hand, make sure you don’t hire a lawyer before taking a trip to visit the doctor. This could give the jury the wrong idea – that your legal claim is a bigger priority over your health. 

Mistake #2: Missing Medical Appointments

Insurance companies and lawyers see when you skip doctor’s appointments because of your medical records. This is the perfect opportunity for them to claim that:

  • You’re not in as much pain as you’re claiming
  • You don’t care about your health / getting better

On top of this, your medical provider will feel like you aren’t committed to your treatment plan. Not to mention it can be irritating if you’re constantly late or not showing up to your scheduled appointments. Don’t be this person! You want to work with your doctors, not against them. Try your utmost best to be proactive & punctual, and show up to every single appointment. If you can’t make one of your appointments for some reason, then call the office as soon as possible and explain to them exactly why you have to reschedule.

Mistake #3: Not Sticking to the Facts

It can be hard to remember every detail of a car accident, especially if it happened quickly and unexpectedly. Whenever people ask about the accident, stick to the things you know for sure are true. Even if you know that the other driver was completely at fault, you must still choose your words very carefully. For example, assume someone asks specific questions such as:

“How fast was the other car going when they hit you?”

DO NOT guess. Unless you are certain, never tell them a random speed. Many car accident victims unintentionally overestimate how fast the other car was going upon impact, which can cause jury’s and insurance companies to question your credibility and leave room for contradiction. Remember, it’s okay to simply respond with “I don’t know.”

Don't Make These 9 Mistakes After A Car Accident

Mistake #4: Not Being Honest About Your Health History

As we briefly mentioned earlier, honesty is the best thing you can bring to the table when talking with your doctor. Expect them to ask questions about:

  • Your physical and emotional state before the accident
  • Prior health conditions
  • General medical history
  • The state of your overall health following the accident

When disclosing these details, make sure you are honest. It’s challenging for doctors to diagnose & treat you if they have inaccurate facts about your pre-accident medical history. Remember that lawyers will analyze your pre-accident medical records to see if you have injured the same area in a prior accident. Make sure to not cover up any injuries, as it will only make the doctor look like he or she is relying on inaccurate / incomplete information.

Mistake #5: Talking To Your Doctor About Legal Cases

Most doctors don’t want to be involved in legal claims. Who can blame them? A majority of doctors want to treat patients. They do not want lawyers to interrogate them or ask them to testify in court for a case. If you are a patient who’s priority lies primarily in resolving your legal case over seeking treatment, then your doctor will most likely not want to become involved with you. That being said, it is not necessary for you to tell your doctor about the details surrounding your legal claim or lawsuits. It may hinder their willingness to provide treatment. Should your doctor approach you and ask questions about your legal claim, always be honest because everything you say can be entered into your medical records.

Mistake #6: Not Telling Your Doctor About Your Pain

This ties into the honesty factor. Many people don’t want to sound dramatic or give others the impression that they are a complainer, so they refrain from discussing the full extent of their injuries, boundaries, and limitations. If you don’t speak up about your injury, then there will be no official medical documentation of it. Unfortunately, insurance companies and lawyers are also not going to believe that you are in pain just because you say you are. They want records and documentation to prove it. 

Additionally, you may be assessed on progress throughout your assigned treatment plan. It is crucial that you’re honest about your experience. If you haven’t improved or have gotten worse, then tell your doctor because they can’t help you if they don’t know what’s going on. Don’t try to tough it out or wait for the injury to get better on its own. In fact, worsening symptoms is a sure sign to call your doctor for a re-evaluation.

Mistake #7: Not Cooperating With Your Doctor

If you’re in an auto accident, then you may be referred to a medical provider you’ve never seen before. Doctor-patient relationships are very important, but unfortunately there are instances where you may not always get along with your doctor. This can happen especially a with new doctor who you haven’t had time to build trust with yet. In the circumstance that you don’t care for your  doctor, it’s still important to cooperate with their instructions no matter what. Make sure to refrain from arguing or challenging the doctor’s plan. We understand many people are unfamiliar with personal injury claims and don’t want to see you make these 9 mistakes after a car accident. We encourage you to ask questions, but don’t act like you know more about your condition than the doctor

If your provider prescribes you a medication that doesn’t work or has adverse effects on your health, talk to them immediately. They will need to prescribe an alternative medication if this occurs. It’s a common mistake for people to completely stop taking medication without consulting their doctor first. This puts the client or patient in a legally vulnerable position. You never want to admit that you voluntarily chose not to follow your doctor’s plan. Also, remember that anything negative you say to your medical provider has the potential to end up on their chart notes. This will ultimately make you look bad. Insurance company lawyers will use anything they can to portray you as a poor patient, especially in a case like this. 

Mistake #8: Stopping Treatment Too Early

Beware: Refusing to continue receiving treatment gives insurance companies the impression that your injury is healed. Our advice is to commit to your treatment plan until you’re healed, or until your doctor says that no further treatment can be done. Find out the specifics on when you can call your doctor (if needed) following the completion of treatment. 

Mistake #9: Not Keeping Documentation

One of the last mistakes made after a car accident is not saving documentation. Your lawyer needs to know every medical provider that you visit after an injury, along with each of the doctor orders & referrals. You will also want other records given by insurance companies. This is good preparation because your lawyer will be able to collect all the necessary documents when the time

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