After reading the title of this article, your first reaction might be, “my lawyer should play no role in my post-car accident medical care; she’s a lawyer, not a doctor!” I would say you are both right and wrong. Yes, your lawyer is not a doctor and should not give you medical advice. However, a talented, caring, and experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in ensuring you get the most thorough medical care for your injuries while at the same time maximizing your future financial recovery.
The unfortunate reality is that many people who are injured in car accidents continue to live with pain for years or even the rest of their lives. It doesn’t always have to be this way, however. Your injury attorney should be working to help you heal and to get you the best possible resolution to ensure you are compensated for your pain and suffering.
The process of recovering after a car accident is not simple or easy. We have tips on how to help ensure you’re making the best possible physical recovery and getting the best possible settlement offer from the insurance company or at-fault party involved.
How Can My Injury Attorney Help Me Get The Best Medical Care and Settlement?
We have a few examples to explain how an attorney can help with your medical care.
What Does Recovery Generally Look like for People After a Massachusetts Car Accident?
Nobody hopes or plans to be injured in a car accident, but it is an unfortunate reality, especially in Massachusetts where the roads are increasingly becoming more dangerous. After an injury there are two main types of recovery to be concerned with: 1) your physical body, 2) financial recovery for all your losses.
After a car accident injury, it is common for a person to go to their primary care doctor and consult with a car accident attorney. Many times, people will begin to care for injuries with their primary care doctor and then go on to physical therapy for 6-12 weeks.
After completing an extended round of physical therapy, many people find that they are feeling a little better, but that they are still in pain. Many people who are still in pain weeks and months after a car accident require additional diagnostics, such as a CT scan or an MRI to understand their injury more fully.
When you’ve been injured and have not recovered as you hoped to, there are two main ways your case can go.
Scenario 1: Minimal Medical Care & Small Settlements
Let's say you were in a head-on collision and sustained a left shoulder injury caused by your seat belt retracting. You are taken by ambulance to the emergency room where it is determined after x-rays that nothing is broken. You get examined by your primary care doctor (PCP), and he confirms that you suffered a strain or sprain of your left shoulder. He advises you to participate in a course of physical therapy for your injuries, which you do.
After several weeks of physical therapy, you make some improvement, but you are still having some pain in your shoulder which is affecting your sleep. You follow up again with your PCP and he tells you “these injuries take time.” You, being like many of us, don’t enjoy going to doctors, don’t like to be perceived as a complainer, you have a busy life so you just resign yourself to the fact that this is just the way things will be and you “just deal with it.”
You tell your injury lawyer you are done treating and that you wish to get your case settled and instruct them to begin negotiating with the insurance company. A few months later you get a small settlement offer but you accept it because your attorney tells you that your injuries were “soft tissue” injuries (meaning nothing was broken) and that your minimal medical treatment doesn’t support a sizable offer. You settle the case for peanuts, and your shoulder still hurts.
If you do not diagnose and address the possible underlying injuries from your accident, the insurance company will offer you a much smaller settlement. The insurance company will base your settlement on the known, documented injuries rather than the possible larger ones you suffer from.
Scenario 2: More Medical Care & Larger Settlements
Imagine the same accident and injury scenario above. Only this time, your lawyer has been checking in with you at least every 30 days, asking how things are going with therapy. Through these telephone calls or Zoom meetings, she elicited from you that you’re just not making the progress you had hoped for. She explains that without an MRI, you won’t know if you have a tear in your rotator cuff.
She convinces you that you should be persistent with your PCP to order an MRI so you can get to the root of the problem and hopefully get proper treatment. You listen to her, assertively tell your doctor that you simply can’t continue to live in pain and want to know why you’re not making progress. Your doctor orders the MRI.
Guess what? You have a partial thickness tear of your rotator cuff. You are referred to an orthopedic specialist who recommends a cortisone injection to see if that will work. You get the shots; they provide temporary relief but the pain returns. Your orthopedic doctor recommends surgery, and you have the surgery done. The surgery is a success; after another round of physical therapy, you eventually feel fantastic.
In this scenario, your case gets settled for 20x the offer in scenario one, AND you actually feel “back to normal.”
Your physical healing and your larger settlement result from your lawyer asking questions and taking time to really understand your situation. You followed her advice and ended up with a win-win resolution!
The Importance of Proper Legal Intervention with Your Medical Care
Proper legal intervention in the medical aspect of your treatment after a car accident may have a sizable impact on the ultimate result of your case. Suppose you’ve been injured and are being represented by a personal injury attorney. In that case, it is vital to ensure your attorney communicates with you frequently and in-depth throughout your medical treatment. This ensures your attorney understands what you're going through. With the right personal injury attorney, you will be in the best position to get the best medical and financial outcomes after a car accident.
It’s important to know that you are entitled to compensation for chronic pain after a car accident. Chronic pain is considered a long-term or permanent injury, and the more medical treatment you receive and the level of your diagnosis can significantly impact your settlement offer.
What if My Attorney Isn’t Encouraging My Medical Treatment?
It is also essential to know that if your injury attorney is not discussing your pain and recovery process, they are not doing you a service. Your injury attorney should focus on ensuring you get all the medical treatment you need to recover the best you can from your injuries.
Your attorney should encourage you to seek further medical treatment for your own recovery and because it helps ensure they have all the information about your injuries so that they know what your case is worth. Your pain and injuries are “worth” something.
Suppose you continue to experience pain, and your attorney is not encouraging you to seek additional medical treatment. In that case, you have options:
- If you are comfortable with your attorney, initiate the conversation with them. Advocate for yourself, and let your attorney know you’d like to discuss your options. Your attorney is likely more than willing to help you pursue additional treatment, but they may be unaware of the level of pain you’re still experiencing.
- If you are uncomfortable with having that conversation, or if you initiate a conversation with your attorney and it doesn’t go well, you always have the option to fire your injury attorney and seek a second opinion on your case.
Injured In a Massachusetts Car Accident? Text or Call East Boston Car Accident Injury Attorney For A FREE Consultation
As Massachusetts car accident attorneys, we know the unfortunate truth: car accidents with injuries are inevitable.
Over the last three decades, we’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts get the recovery they need after a car accident injury. Recently, Spada Law Group was recognized as one of the Top 20 Car Accident Attorneys in Boston, and Attorney Spada was named one of Boston’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers by Boston Magazine. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case. We’re here and ready to help.
We have offices in Chelsea, Peabody, Worcester, and Newburyport, but we proudly serve the entire state and can meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your injury.