On today’s Inside Look by Brooks, Steve Brooks talks about why it is important to complete your medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident.
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Good afternoon. Steve Brooks here with Friday’s Inside Look by Brooks. I hope everybody had a great week. I’m looking forward to the weekend. Today’s topic is: Why Is It Important For Me To Complete My Medical Treatment?
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR ME TO COMPLETE MY MEDICAL TREATMENT?
As I preach to my clients all the time, medical treatment is literally the bible of your case. Medical treatment will drive all facets of your case because medical treatment is the written notes of the doctors and treating staff that diagnose your injuries in writing, what kinds of treating you’re getting in writing, and document your progress and how severe the injury is, again, in writing. There’s an old axiom I joke with my staff about, it’s like I always tell everybody; all adjusters and all juries are from Missouri, the show me state. So, any adjuster we deal with trying to deal with your personal injury claim, or any jury we go before trying to present your claim, they’re going to want me, your attorney, to show them in writing the diagnosis by the doctor, the treatment by the doctor, the progress of your treatment by the doctor, what your ultimate, final opinion of the doctor is about your permanent injuries. Again, if you’re halfway through the process and you stop because you’re feeling better, that’s not going to help your case. Let’s take a hypothetical case: I have a client come in with a herniated disk. You can have a herniated disk in your neck or your lower back, sometimes in your thoracic region, but mainly in the back and neck. So, let’s say you’ve been diagnosed a herniated disk in your lower back and the doctor has prescribed you therapy and then the doctor prescribed epidermal injections. The client comes to me and says “I’ve got this diagnosis/MRI that shows I have a herniated disk. Isn’t that enough?”
GOING TO TRIAL
Now, ultimately, if I can’t negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, my only option is to then file a lawsuit and take it to trial and present it to a jury. When I present it to a jury, the jury is going to be scratching their head, wondering why I’m taking weeks of their time to come sit in the court house and listen to how seriously this client says their injured, but yet that client stopped treatment in the middle of treatment. The jury is going to wonder “If you’re that injured, why didn’t you go to therapy? Why didn’t you get epidermal injections?” Those kinds of questions are not the kinds of questions you want the jury asking in the jury room when we’re trying to maximize your recovery for your herniated disk. So the best thing you can do medically is follow your doctor’s advice: get the therapy, get the injections. Follow your doctor’s advice. He went to 4-5 years of medical school and he probably went to 3-4 years of residency training, and then 4 years of college. He’s got 12 years of post-high school studies, so listen to him, and follow your doctor. It’s going to help your most medically and legally. The way I like to tell my clients, we as an attorney don’t like to play doctor. We don’t want to second guess your doctor. If your doctor has advised you get therapy and advised you get injections, and then follow your doctor’s advice. In turn, this will help your case immensely to the attorney, the defense attorney, and the jury assigned to your file to hear, in writing, that you know you were diagnosed with a herniated disk and that your injuries were serious enough to you that required you to follow through with treatment and get the therapy and get the therapy and then follow through with the doctor’s orders and get the injections and possibly a surgery.
STEVE BROOKS’ PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I’ve actually sat in a trial once where I’ve witnessed this and it was very embarrassing for the other attorney. The plaintiff came in give his opening statement to the attorney and explain all the serious injuries they were there to recover damages for and the defense attorney comes in and opens up the folder that has nothing in it and says “Okay, this person is here today and allege they were serious injured..”, and I’m going to use a hypothetical, January 1st of 2017 “… and they were diagnosed with a herniated disk and after the diagnosis the doctor prescribed the course of treatment: physical therapy and epidermal injections. So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let’s look into the client’s medical records and see what the client did; how seriously injured they were so that we can help you, the jury decide, how much to award this person.” He opens the folder and there’s nothing in there because the client didn’t follow through with physical therapy. “The client didn’t follow through with epidermal injections. The doctor’s notes stopped after the diagnosis.” He says “Let’s look in February and see the notes for the treatment, and oh, there’s nothing. The client did nothing to help himself. The doctor has prescribed therapy. Let’s look in March. There’s no record. This person who is so seriously injured didn’t go back to the doctor, or follow the doctor’s orders for therapy, nor did he get an epidermal injection. He didn’t do anything, so I ask you lady and gentlemen of jury, how serious can this client really be. Let’s not award him a lot of money.” That’s the stuff you don’t want to hear at your jury trial. The best thing you want to do if you want a positive outcome at a jury trial is to follow your doctor’s orders. Again, the doctor has had all this training. Don’t ignore his advice. Follow through with treatment.
That’s my tip of the day: it’s really important to not stop treatment midcourse. It’s not good to stop treatment 2/3rds of 3/4ths of the way through. Complete your treatment and that will give me, your attorney, the more complete file to advocate on your behalf either with an adjustor in trying to settle or with the jury trying to reach a verdict. So, if you have any questions about what we’ve talked about today, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. I’ll be glad to have a private chat with you no charge just to give you a quick take on whatever your question is. Thank you for joining me today, I look forward to seeing you next Friday at 3:00 for Friday’s Inside Look by Brooks. Thank you!