Why Your Doctor Matters
If you have been injured in any kind of accident and potentially have a claim against the at-fault party, you must understand why your doctor matters. It will help you determine which steps are wise for you to take.
Your doctor has to testify ‘to a reasonable degree of medical certainty’ that it was indeed the case. You need his help to recover from the injury caused by the accident.” -Burriss and Ridgeway
Particularly in South Carolina, you need to establish several things to recover against a third party for your injury. Among them are:
1. Causative Relationship Between the Event and the Medical Condition
You are going to need a doctor to testify for you. This is why your doctor matters — he can prove that what you have now or have been stricken with is a result of a collision, fall, or any kind of accident. You need medical practitioners to strengthen your case.
But having a doctor testify for you is not always easy. There are reasons that you may not expect.
Unfortunately, the litigation process is not very attractive to many doctors. Every community has doctors that do not like the process. They don’t like going out of their way to stay uninvolved.
These types of doctors can have a squelching effect on your case faster than almost any other aspect of your burden of proof.
Case in Point on Why Your Doctor Matters
Consider for example that you want to recover from a herniated disc in your back. It came as a result of an automobile collision.
Unless you are successful in getting your doctor to testify, a jury will never know that you have experienced the injury because of the accident.
You can go ahead and get treatment for yourself, but without the support of your doctor, it is unlikely that you will receive any amount from the at-fault party or from the health insurance company.
Your doctor has to testify “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” that it was indeed the case. You need his help to recover from the injury caused by the accident.
The Challenge with Doctors
To stay out of the litigation process, doctors can do and say all sorts of things. They can point the finger at all sorts of causes as a way of staying uninvolved. And, they can be quite determined in doing so.
They know that an opinion that hurts your case will likely be unnecessary at the trial. That way, they remain uninvolved.
Identifying the Reliable Medical Providers
As lawyers, in a state the size of South Carolina, we see the same medical providers time and again. Because of that, we have developed a pretty good sense of which doctors are willing to advocate for the patient and provide an honest opinion.
We understand why your doctor matters. We are also familiar as to which doctors will do or say anything to avoid taking part in the process.
If you feel that your doctor is not taking your complaints seriously, you would be well served to seek a second opinion elsewhere without delay. The same is true if you feel that your doctor is not providing the level of care that you believe is justified by the level of discomfort that you are in.” -Burriss and Ridgeway
We see cases all the time where clients continue to jump through the same hoops for the same medical professionals. They do so without receiving much assistance.
When injured in an accident, it is essential that you get proper and appropriate medical care as quickly as you can. This not only will help you overcome the burden of proof later but most importantly it also gives you the best chance of a full and speedy recovery from your injuries.
2. Confusion in Paying Medical Bills
When seeking medical care, another issue that we often see is the confusion regarding how the medical bills are paid. Ultimately, if you are in an accident that is the fault of someone else, those bills will be paid by the at-fault party or the at-fault party’s insurance company.
However, the payment of these bills does not happen soon. It only happens once the case is settled and resolved. This is where things get a little confusing.
You must prepare for the fact that your case may be around for an extended period of time while you are treating and medical bills are coming due.” -Burriss and Ridgeway
Personal injury cases come in all shapes and sizes. It is very difficult to know when a case will be settled or resolved.
Finding Assistance with the Payments
As your attorneys, we can assist you with the payment of medical bills. We make sure that you are able to receive funding that will protect you from any debt collection. We can also assist you in the alternative reach agreements with the medical providers that their bills will be protected once you have received any settlement.
In addition, for clients that have health insurance in place, the provider should always be directed to present the bills to the health insurance provider for processing.
You must be adamant that, if you have health insurance, you want the provider to process the bills by correctly utilizing your health insurance.
The Challenge with Health Insurance Companies
Oftentimes we deal with clients who encounter some difficulty in recovering from the health insurance companies. They are being told that the accident they experienced was not covered in their agreement.
For that reason, the provider is not going to submit the bills to the health insurance provider. But, it is not the case. Like those clients, you must be aware that you are being misled by the medical provider.
Case in Point on Health Insurance
Consider for example that you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. Along with that fact, the medical provider is one of the approved medical providers through your health insurance policy.
If both cases are true, the medical provider has the duty to you pursuant to the contract that they have with your health insurance company to submit the claim appropriately.
If they do not do so, they have then breached the contract that they have with the health insurance company and you need to make your attorney aware of this breach.
3. The Need for Patience
Lastly, it is important to know that patience is key when you have been injured in an accident.
For a whole host of reasons, medical providers are not equipped nor is it possible for them to find out and diagnose exactly what is wrong with you every time you present after an accident.” -Burriss and Ridgeway
These things take time and it may be that you are required to undergo several courses of treatment. It may take a long time before they are ever actually able to determine what it is that is wrong and what it is going to take to treat you.
Have the patience to move forward with your case. Consider why your doctor matters.
The Challenge with Health Treatments
For most injuries involving the spine or any joint in the body, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is probably going to be necessary. It helps determine the specifics of the injury.
But MRIs are very expensive. For that reason, they are not ordered on the front end of your course of treatment.
Generally speaking, patients do not simply present to the emergency room complaining of back pain and receive an MRI. In our experience, clients will need to present for several appointments. They also potentially undergo a course of physical therapy or some other type of treatment.
All those they do in an effort to see if the complaints will resolve before an MRI is ordered. Overall, this is simply the way it is and there is not a whole lot of solutions that clients can do to speed up the process. Patience is key.
Find Legal Help at Burriss and Ridgeway
At Burriss and Ridgeway we pride ourselves on making sure that we eliminate surprises and guesswork throughout the litigation process. We want to make sure that our clients understand what needs to be done.
We want them fully advised regarding the benefits and pitfalls associated with the decisions that they and their medical providers are making. Know why your doctor matters.
Other Articles You May Find Helpful:
- I’ve Been Injured in an Accident In South Carolina That Was My Fault, What Now?
- I Have Been Injured in an Accident in SC and I am Not Sure What to do…
- Should I Give A Recorded Statement in S.C. After An Accident?
If you have been injured in an accident of any kind we would be more than happy to speak with you about how we can help. Feel free to call our office directly at 803-451-4000 or visit us online at burrisslaw.com.