Does my attorney get involved in my medical care?
Yes, your attorney should get involved. Some lawyers feel it is not helpful to get involved with the treatment their clients receive. However, many experienced personal injury attorneys realize that a reasonable settlement is unlikely to be achieved unless the client is continuing to obtain the proper medical treatment. Insurance companies often take the position that if a person did not see a doctor shortly after the accident and begin treating, that the person was not actually injured. Further, insurance companies often take the position that anything a client says about how bad he or she was injured is not the truth unless verified by medical records. Accordingly, it is indeed advisable that the attorney be involved with the medical treatment of the client as soon as possible.
In many cases a client is truly in pain and attempting to get on with their life without promptly obtaining an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Most attorneys recognize the importance of obtaining proper medical care for the patient’s sake and for purposes of handling the personal injury claim. It is up to the lawyer to keep abreast of the medical progress being made by his or her client and whether any changes need to be made.
Normally, as a patient treats with various doctors, the attorney will receive reports of the progress made and the continuing complaints the client has. It is extremely important for the attorney to read these documents and, based upon the attorney’s medical knowledge gained over the years, make sure that the client is obtaining treatment from the proper specialist.
For instance, after a person is involved in a serious auto accident wherein the vehicle is virtually crushed beyond recognition, the client may develop severe anxiety while driving. An experienced attorney will continue to inquire of his client how the client is dealing with sleep, memory, depression, exhaustion, and difficulty performing his or her work or other normal tasks. Often, the treating doctor may not go into these areas in detail. The doctor may only be focused on the physical injuries the client has complained about. An experienced attorney will delve into the issues raised above and suggest to the client that he or she ask the primary doctor about the possibility of a mild Traumatic Brain Injury or a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The client can be tested regarding these conditions and it is extremely important for the client’s well-being and proper evaluation of the case for the attorney to know if these conditions are present. Experienced vehicle accident attorneys have achieved some very high settlements and verdicts based primarily on a mild Traumatic Brain Injury or a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although it is the treating doctor who should ascertain whether these symptoms exist, in reality, the attorney is often the one who takes the time to question the client more thoroughly regarding the symptoms of these conditions.