If you or somebody you love has been injured in a car accident, one of the most important things for you to do is to seek medical care. This is particularly true for any immediate medical emergencies caused by the car accident. Many people just assume that they should also continue follow-up care with their primary care physician after they have been released from the emergency room. However, due to the nature of car accident injuries, going to your primary care physician or family doctor may not be the best course of action to take. Here, we want to discuss several pitfalls of seeking care from a family doctor after a car accident.
Why You Should Not See Your Family Doctor After a Crash
We want to make it clear that we have no intention of doubting the skill of family physicians. These doctors are very good at their jobs, but they are not necessarily set up to handle traumatic car accident cases. In fact, some primary care physicians may refuse to see you altogether if you are suffering from car accident injuries.
Some of the main reasons we advise against seeing a primary care physician after a car accident include the following:
Delaying consistent medical care
Often, primary care physicians will tell people that are experiencing pain to give the injury four to eight weeks to heal. However, this can significantly hurt your case. If you take the advice of the primary care physician (PCP) and delay your treatment, an insurance claims adjuster is going to use this against you. Suppose you are still in pain after four to eight weeks and then begin treatment. The insurance claims adjuster will use this gap in time where you had no treatment recorded and claim that you were likely not injured at all. However, during that time without treatment, your injury may have become worse.
The job of a claims adjuster is to find a way to limit the amount of money that the insurance carrier pays out in a settlement. In this case, any delay in treatment will be used by an adjuster to justify them saying that the accident did not cause your injury.
Failing to document all of your injuries
A PCP may fail to document all of the injuries you are experiencing in the aftermath of a car accident. Often, a PCP will deal with a patient’s worst complaint while ignoring minor complaints. If a PCP fails to document minor problems that a car accident injury victim is experiencing, this could be a major problem when dealing with insurance carriers.
For example, suppose you are having knee pain in the aftermath of an accident. However, your doctor does not mention this injury for the first 30 days of your treatment because they are dealing with a more significant neck injury you have sustained. In this case, the adjuster is going to look at the timeline in your medical reports and see that your knee pain was not immediately noted. The adjuster could then use this to say that you hurt your knee doing something else and that the injury did not occur in the car accident.
Depositions and your primary care physician
Depositions are often used in car accident injury lawsuits. If the insurance carrier offers an incredibly low settlement amount, you and your car accident attorney may need to take a deposition from your medical doctor. Doctors typically are immune to subpoenas, which means they cannot be forced to go to court. Getting their testimony about the injuries beforehand through deposition is vital. However, very few PCPs have experience giving depositions in car accident cases. A bad deposition could cost you when your case goes to court.
Seek Medical Care from the experts
If you have been involved in a car accident, you need to ensure that your follow up care after the initial emergency is completed by experts who regularly handle car accident victims’ injuries. This includes orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, neurologists, and any other experts that handle the injuries that you have sustained. These experts will not allow a delay in treatment, they will ensure they document all of your injuries, and they will be ready to give depositions if necessary.