Personal Injury Accident Care: Getting the Appropriate Treatment
If you’ve been injured in an accident, whether it be a car accident, or a trip and fall accident, or if you’ve been injured by a defective product – the first thing you should do is seek appropriate medical care.
Some attorneys advise seeking legal counsel before doing anything else, including getting medical care. This is wrong. In fact, we won’t represent that person if he or she has not yet received initial treatment for his or her injuries.
See Your Own Doctors First
Many times we will be contacted after initial care is received. The care can be given by a paramedic, at an emergency room, or in an urgent care center. After emergency care is received, further treatment is usually needed.
If you have a primary care physician, our usual advice is to seek treatment from that physician first, if appropriate for the injuries you sustained.
Your primary care physician knows you best and presumably will be able to refer you to a physical therapist, orthopedist, neurologist, or other specialist, depending on your injuries. If you have health insurance and these providers are covered under your insurance, make sure to present your insurance information to these providers.
There are some attorneys who would rather you go to “their doctors.” They will tell you not to use your insurance and not to worry that you will not have to pay anything up front (liens will be discussed below). This may sound good at first, but there are risks:
First: Some of the less credible personal injury attorneys will refer you to a doctor who will work with them in litigation, but he or she may not be the best doctor for your needs.
Second: You will have to explain to a jury why you chose not to use your insurance and not to go to your regular doctor.
Does this mean we never refer clients to doctors? No, we certainly do under appropriate circumstances.
Don’t Know a Doctor or Can’t Afford Personal Injury Treatment?
Some clients do not have regular physicians. Others have doctors who are unwilling to become involved in an injury case. Some clients do not have health insurance or the means to pay for care on their own. Additionally, some clients have HMO insurance and cannot obtain referrals to specialists who are needed to render the best possible care.
Under all these circumstances, we will help the client find the best doctor for their given needs. Our firm has been in practice for over 40 years – we have worked with some of the best doctors in the area for almost every specialized need.
When you do not have insurance and cannot afford to pay for the care on your own, some doctors will accept liens.
A lien is a written agreement with a medical provider who will provide treatment, but wait until your case is over for payment. You must pay for the care, even if you do not recover anything for your injuries during your case. They are not treating you on a contingency basis; they are just agreeing to wait for payment.
Liens are often criticized by insurance company attorneys at personal injury trials, as they try to portray lien doctors as having a “stake” in your case.
But remember: You are only put in this position because of the negligence of the defendant, and the defendant’s and the insurance company’s unwillingness to pay for your medical care. If they would pay for your care as you get it, there would be no need to see a doctor on a lien. Unfortunately, liability insurance carriers will not agree to pay for your care as you go.
Your ultimate goal is to get the appropriate care to treat, and hopefully resolve, your injuries. Your recovery is always the focus of the case.
Dave Bobrosky is an Accident and Injury Attorney with nearly 15 years of experience in helping Los Angeles accident victims and their families receive fair compensation for their injuries. Contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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