SEEK TREATMENT IMMEDIATLY
Most importantly you want to begin immediately treating with a doctor. All accident cases are medically driven. Additionally your Florida PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Insurance requires that you treat within 14 days of the accident or PIP may deny benefits.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR DO I NEED
You might be surprised to learn that your family physician may have a policy against treating auto accident injury claims. Why?
A) Your family physician may be more geared to treating diseases like diabetes, the flu…etc. as supposed to traumatic injuries.
B) Some doctors are not excited about potential involvement with the legal system. If a doctor treats your auto accident injury he may be asked to give deposition testimony about your condition and whether it is related to your accident. He/she also may be required to attend trial and testify live in front of a jury.
Fortunately there are physicians and groups of physicians that focus on treating traumatic injuries suffered in auto or truck related crashes. Even if your family physician treated auto accident injuries, b/c they also treat diabetes, high blood pressure etc. they may not be as focused and familiar with the preferential course of treatment for traumatic injuries. There are several pluses to selecting a physician that specializes in injury cases:
- They see so many cases of this nature it is only logical that they are probably more skilled in diagnosing and treating this type of injury
- They are skilled at documenting the nature and extent of your injuries in your medical record
- They have a capable team of referral physicians that are geared to these type injuries and understand the importance of proper documentation of your medical record
- They know how to field insurance company inquiries
- They are skilled at fielding adversarial questions in a deposition or at trial
- They probably will accept a “Letter of Protection” from your attorney in the event you do not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay their bills.
HOW TO FIND A DOCTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN TRAUMATIC INJURIES
Friends, Neighbors & Co-Workers
The best way to find a doctor or attorney who focuses on auto accident cases is to ask your friends neighbors and coworkers. Chances are, somebody in your network has been involved in a car accident and has firsthand experience in selecting a doctor or attorney experienced in these matters.
If you choose to hire an attorney, most any attorney who practices in the field of personal injury law will be able to assist you in selecting a doctor or physician who focus their practice on these type of claims.
At the Brooks Law group our case managers, paralegals and attorneys interface with “injury focused” physicians on a daily basis. We see the results that certain physicians have in helping their clients heal and in how they navigate the medical legal aspects of a claim. Although selecting a physician is a personal decision, a decision that you must make. Our law firm’s familiarity can provide a “heads up” in assisting you make an enlightened and informed decision when selecting a doctor.
We can direct you to a number of physicians in the Tampa Bay, Lakeland/Winter Haven area familiar with treating and documenting these types of injuries.
Family Medical Doctor or Chiropractic Physician
You also might check with your family practice physician or chiropractor. They may have a doctor in their practice that focuses on traumatic injuries. If not, they may have a friend or colleague who they are comfortable referring you to.
Searching key words such as “accident injury doctor Tampa” or “injury doctor Lakeland” will likely list several local physicians with practices focusing on treating injuries related to trauma.
The Ultimate selection is up to you! Questions to ask a potential Doctor:
President Ronald Reagan frequently made a statement when discussing America’s relations with the Soviet Union…”Trust but Verify”. Even though a trusted source (an attorney, friend or doctor) may have referred you to a physician for treatment, I would advise you to follow Ronald Reagan’s advice. The ultimate selection of a doctor is yours. Interview your potential doctor like you would any other professional you are engaging. Listed below are a few suggested questions to pose to any doctor you are considering:
- Do you specialize in treating traumatic injury-type cases?
- What type of success do you have in returning your patients to pre-accident condition?
- What are your credentials?
- Do you willingly interface with the medical legal aspects of a claim?
- If a surgical referral is needed do you have trusted surgeons that have a high surgical success rate with other patients?
- Do the surgeons you “refer to” willingly interface with the medical legal aspects of the case?
- Do you accept PIP?
- If I hire an attorney will you work with him on a “Letter of Protection” for any amounts not covered by insurance?
Remember, this is your case. It is up to you to do your homework to assure yourself you have landed with the right doctor for your injury, your personality, and your situation. Do your homework, ask questions, talk to staff and build relationships.
After finding a doctor the next step will be about your interaction with your doctor through the course of treatment and why completing treatment and not missing appointments is important. To see our reasoning through the eyes of an insurance adjuster, check out step 3 to see why it is so important to not miss treatment and to follow your doctor’s treatment plan.