What Should I Ask My Doctor After a Car Accident?
Getting into a car accident could change your life. The forces exerted on your body in a collision could cause injuries such as bone fractures, muscle strains, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, organ damage and traumatic brain damage. During conversations with a doctor after a car accident, it is critical to ask the right questions regarding your future, treatment options and the point of maximum medical improvement. Knowing what to ask can give you all the information you need to move forward after a car accident.
Will You Recover?
One of the most frequently asked questions during a post-accident doctor’s appointment is: “Will I recover from my injuries?” Although the answer will vary for everyone, the factors that may impact your prognosis for a full recovery include the severity of your injuries, the part of the body injured and your attitude during recovery. Asking about your prognosis upfront can give you hope and realistic expectations.
Are Your Injuries Minor or Major?
Minor personal injuries may not lend the need to pursue a lawsuit against the person that caused them. An insurance settlement could be enough to pay for your hospital bills and lost wages. Major injuries, however, could be a reason to contact an attorney and discuss the possibility of taking legal action. Asking about the severity of your injuries could give you an idea of whether you should seek legal recourse from the at-fault party.
What Caused Your Injuries?
You might know a car accident caused your injuries, but not the mechanics behind your injuries. For example, you might know you suffered a broken bone in the car wreck, but not that the force of the airbag is what broke your nose. Ask your doctor exactly how your injuries happened. Going to a physician with experience helping victims of car accidents could help you get a more accurate answer to this question.
Could You Suffer Related Health Problems in the Future?
Unfortunately, not all injuries heal completely. Injuries that impact the back or neck, for example, could cause chronic pain or complications such as degenerative disk disease. Ask your doctor if you should expect recurring issues related to your car accident injuries. With this answer, you could be more aware of symptoms to watch out for later, such as chronic pain or loss of mobility in your back. You will also gain a better understanding of the full extent of your injuries and the impact they might have on your future.
When Can You Go Back to Work?
Ask your doctor when he or she believes you will be able to return to work. That way, you know what to tell your employer and how much medical leave to request. You will also have an accurate representation of how many days you will miss wages during your physical recovery. This will help your lawyer calculate future lost wages. If your physician believes you will not be able to return to work even at your point of maximum medical improvement, you could seek compensation for permanent lost capacity to earn.
Should You See a Specialist?
A physician should naturally refer you to a specialist if you need one. However, some doctors may negligently fail to recommend a specialist. Asking if a specialist would benefit you could broach the subject and prevent the physician from failing to give you a referral. Seeing a specialist could require additional costs you may be able to list as damages during an accident liability claim.
Will the Doctor Provide Documentation of Your Injuries?
Most doctors’ offices will provide documentation for your accident-related injuries for you to use during an insurance claim. You may need to request proper documentation of your injuries, x-rays, diagnosis, treatment plan and medical bills. Proper documentation and medical records of your condition are critical for a strong and valid insurance claim. An attorney may be able to help you collect all documents related to your medical care.