How Come My Primary Doctor Won’t Treat Me for My Accident?
The South Florida personal injury attorneys at the Wolfson Law Firm hear the same question from new clients all the time – “How Come My Primary Doctor Won’t Treat Me for My Accident?” All too often, one of our new clients is injured in a car accident or slip and fall and they think they can just go to their own primary doctor. But then they find out that the primary physician either cannot or will not treat them if they were injured in an accident. So why is that? There are a few common reasons.
If you were injured in an accident you may require a specialist. Many family doctors or primary physicians are specialists but in the fields of family medicine or internal medicine. Many primary doctors do not feel qualified to offer you the medical care and treatment you may need. In those cases, your family doctor may refer you to a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon, neurologist, chiropractor or pain management physician.
But even if your primary doctor could treat you, many of them simply do not want to be involved if it involves personal injury or potential litigation. Likely they have experienced what happens if they are treating a personal injury victim. You might wonder what happens that makes your doctor run the other way if you were in an accident.
First is the insurance. If you were involved in a car accident, your bills will most likely need to be submitted to you PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance carrier. But the submission procedures and rules for PIP are different from the everyday health insurance your doctor works with each and every day. Since it is different and complicated, it takes time and there are minefields that could result in your doctor not getting paid at all. If the doctor and his or her staff deal with health insurance every day, they know how to do that and are likely able to get it done quickly and efficiently. PIP claims can grind their billing operations to a screeching halt.
Second, your family doctor probably does not have to deal with subpoenas for records and testimony on a regular basis. These processes can also significantly disrupt an otherwise smoothly run office.
Third, is one simple word – lawyers. Your doctor might belong to the majority of Americans who strongly believe a life without lawyers is a life well lived. In short, personal injury lawyers and insurance defense attorneys can be difficult to deal with when it comes to records or testimony. It is not unheard of for an insurance defense lawyer to create an extremely adversarial situation with a doctor only to offer the doctor a way out by waiving his or her entire bill. Once waived the damages have been reduced and the need for the doctor’s testimony is reduced or eliminated. Either way, your doctor may simply want nothing to do with your personal injury claim or the lawyers who come with it.
So, what can you do? You can find your own doctor; ask your friends and family for referrals; or simply speak with your lawyer. Your personal injury attorney can suggest doctors and personal injury experts that have helped other personal injury clients.
You might be concerned how that might sound to the insurance company or a jury at some point – your lawyer referred you to your doctor. But there are reasons that might be less of a concern. First, any discussions between you and your lawyer are privileged. Therefore, you generally cannot be compelled to testify what you discussed with your lawyer. Second, if you tried to go to your primary doctor but for whatever reason that doctor would not see you then it is reasonable to seek out a doctor who could help you. Whether it was a friend, family or even your lawyer it is really not that big a deal so long as you got the medical care and treatment that you needed.
What does look bad to a jury is the client who said they were in such pain after an accident that they just had to call a lawyer. That will not pass the smell test. It is best for you as an injury victim and for your personal injury case in general if following your accident that you get checked out at an emergency room or urgent care center. Although it is not common, there are cases where one of our clients did not think they were hurt that bad only to find out after getting checked out that there was a significant and life-threatening medical condition in play following an accident. So first and foremost, it is extremely important for you to get checked out by a medical professional after any type of accident.
At the Wolfson Law Firm, our South Florida personal injury lawyers have been helping people in Miami, Broward and Palm Beach counties since 1963. We handle cases from the very first call to our office through settlement, jury verdict or appeal. We do not refer our cases out to other law firms to litigate or take to trial. Once we agree to represent you then we are committed to stand by your side through your entire journey until you get the justice that you deserve.
Call today for your free consultation at (305) 285-1115 or toll free at (850) 982-2067. We can come to you whenever and wherever it is most convenient. You are also welcome to visit us by appointment at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach. Don’t give up – stand up for yourself and get the justice that you are entitled to.