The process of speaking to your doctor about your injury after an accident may seem pretty straightforward… And yet thousands of people in Los Angeles and all across California make terrible mistakes that end up discrediting their personal injury claim.
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg warns: if you have scheduled (or are planning to schedule) a medical appointment to discuss your injuries with fa physician, make sure that you avoid the following common mistakes:
Not seeking medical attention immediately after an accident
Failure to seek immediate medical attention after an accident – whatever it is: a car accident, premises liability or defective product liability accident, or anything in between – is a major red flag for juries and judges when deciding whether to award you with a favorable settlement or verdict or not. Not to mention that the at-fault party’s lawyer and insurance company will most likely use your failure to seek immediate medical attention as their defense, arguing that you were not injured severely enough to justify the amount of damages you are seeking to recover.
Lying to your doctor
Many injured people in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California tend to wrongfully believe that they can lie their way into maximizing the value of their personal injury settlement. Whether you are exaggerating the severity of your injuries, not being totally honest about your past medical conditions, lying about your pre-existing injuries or illnesses, or giving false answers to the doctor’s questions regarding your accident, be warned that providing incomplete, false or dishonest information to a doctor can ruin your chances of recovering compensation. And it makes sense, considering that insurance companies will most likely reject your personal injury claim coverage if you get caught, prompting juries and judges to question the validity of your claims overall.
Discussing your lawsuit
It may seem like a doctor is your friend and you can use your medical appointment to not only get diagnosed and receive doctor’s advice, but also to vent. While it is perfectly normal to tell a doctor about your accident, it is highly advised to avoid mentioning anything about your ongoing or prospective personal injury lawsuit or discussing legal tips given by your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.
First of all, your doctor does not need to know about the legal aspects of your case, and it is his/her job and duty to provide you with high-quality medical treatment and diagnosis. Second of all, telling your doctor about your lawsuit can negatively affect your personal injury lawsuit, as many doctors do not want to have anything to do with lawsuits and may even be reluctant to treat you, as the responsibility is just too enormous to take.
Missing or showing up late for your appointment
Yes, even something so insignificant as missing or showing up late for a medical appointment can negatively impact your personal injury case. That is because your medical records keep track of your appointments, and whenever the abbreviation “NS” (which stands for “No Show”) appears next to your medical appointment, juries and judges may cast doubt over the validity of your claims (a no-show makes it look as if your injury was not bad enough if you did not even show up for your appointment).
Showing up late for your appointment, though will not be shown in your medical records, can play a cruel joke on your chances of obtaining compensation, too. That is because showing up late for appointments can be quite annoying, and an annoyed doctor is not something that can help you win a settlement or verdict. Let’s not forget that doctors are witnesses for their patients and may even be asked to testify in court. So the next time you go to a doctor, may want to be friendly with him/her!
Failing to inform a doctor about how your injury affects your earning capacity
If you are employed and your injury has affected your ability to perform your usual duties at work, be sure to inform your doctor about this. It is paramount to have this type of information in your medical records, as an injury that makes it impossible to work or greatly affects one’s ability to work or earning capacity can increase the value of recoverable damages in a personal injury case.
If you have been injured in an accident, do not hesitate to contact a Los Angeles personal injury attorney who will give you personalized legal advice in your particular case. Contact the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to get a free consultation today. Call our offices at 310-997-0904 or complete this contact form.