After suffering a personal injury in South Carolina, there are two places that you should go first: your doctor and your lawyer. However, there are many situations where one of these parties will suggest that you visit the counterpart of their choosing. You should be wary of these relationships, as they may cause damage to your opportunity to recover in a lawsuit.
Juries are naturally skeptical of doctors who are referred by specific attorneys, as this may indicate that the physician may have ulterior motives that color the evidence that you present in court. If your lawyer refers a doctor who is not a specialist or intended to be used as a medical expert in your case, you would be smart to have concerns.
To get experienced and reliable legal advice on your potential claim, schedule a free initial case evaluation with the dedicated South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers. Call our offices right now to learn more at (803) 451-4000.
What to Know About Doctor-Lawyer Referrals?
If someone suffered a personal injury and went directly to a lawyer to discuss recovery options, an experienced South Carolina injury attorney will likely instruct that person to seek medical attention immediately prior to having any further discussion. This is the responsible first step to take, not just for the victim’s health concerns but also for their future recovery.
However, many lawyers go one step too far and tell the victim which doctor to go visit for their workup. Some personal injury law firms have standing relationships with physicians that reward referrals in various ways. You should take care to avoid these situations, as engaging in a doctor-lawyer referral may harm your case in more ways than one.
This may also work the opposite way. There are some doctors who may refer you to a particular personal injury law firm for help recovering compensation. But physicians should not be concerned with your legal options. They should only focus on your condition and care. Doctors who step outside this framework should raise concerns in victims about their treatment.
How Can a Doctor-Lawyer Referral Hurt Your Chances of Recovery in a SC Personal Injury Case?
Doctor-lawyer referrals in personal injury cases raise questions for the jury that the defense will surely highlight in a court case. Defense attorneys may try to paint the referral as evidence of a bad faith money-making scheme between a lawyer and a doctor. This could cause the jury to question the motives of the doctor, impacting the credibility of the medical records that come from that doctor’s office or even witness testimony from the doctor themselves.
Even if there is no sinister intent on the part of the doctor or the attorney, the relationship itself is enough to call the doctor’s credibility into question in the eyes of the jury. In any situation with such high stakes as a personal injury case, plaintiffs should do everything they can to ensure that the evidence they introduce is free from questions.
Are All Doctor-Lawyer Referrals Bad for Your Case?
As we have explained above, referrals between doctors and attorneys may cause serious issues in your search for recovery. However, this does not mean that every instance of a doctor-lawyer referral is bad.
If your lawyer refers you to a specific physician for your initial diagnosis, this may give the jury reason to question the diagnosis. If, however, you have already received a diagnosis and your condition requires personalized attention from a specialist in a particular field, you may have trouble locating such a provider on your own.
Specialists are important in identifying long-term care and pain management strategies, constructing rehabilitation plans, and identifying alternatives to the standard course of treatment that may serve your purposes better. Many types of personal injuries with complex symptoms and consequences, such as injuries that affect the brain, spine, or nervous system, often call for specialist attention.
If you are dealing with a personal injury that requires special attention, it is unlikely that you have much experience to draw from when selecting a provider. Fortunately, many experienced Columbia personal injury attorneys are already familiar with the preeminent specialists in the area where you need assistance through experience with other clients.
Lawyers can also help you find medical professionals for help in trying your case rather than treating you. Many personal injury cases require the testimony of expert witnesses. Expert witnesses can help explain complex terms and language to a jury to help them reach an informed decision. One area where expert witnesses are commonly used in court is where particular injuries (and their prognosis) are unique and difficult to understand without the help of a seasoned expert.
A medical expert does not need to treat the plaintiff in order to testify in their case. Medical expert witnesses are typically used to explain how such an injury might affect the victim, whether the condition is permanent or temporary, how long the recovery may take, the limitations that may continue after recovery, and how much the recovery may cost.
If your lawyer recommends a medical expert witness to you, you should not treat this the same way as if your lawyer recommended a specific doctor to assess your condition and provide a diagnosis. Introducing medical expert testimony is a common part of personal injury lawsuits in South Carolina.
Our Reliable South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You with Your Case
If you have gotten questionable advice from shady firms, you would be wise to reach out with your questions. Schedule a free initial case evaluation with the Lexington personal injury attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today by calling (803) 451-4000.