What Doctor Do I See After an Accident?
Oct. 13, 2020
Clients often ask me at an initial meeting what doctor they should see. My advice is to see a doctor as soon after the accident as possible. That might mean going to the emergency room or an urgent care office the day of the accident or as soon as possible.
After the initial treatment, I recommend that a client go to a specialist. If the client's injuries are orthopedic (neck, back, knee, shoulder), I recommend seeing an orthopedic specialist. If the client has an eye injury (from the airbag hitting the client in the face), see an ophthalmologist. If the client has a wound that's not healing properly (from a dog bite, for example) see a wound specialist.
The client is always in charge of deciding what doctor to see, and how often to see them. It is the attorney's role to give advice, but it is the client's decision.
For clients that have orthopedic injuries, I do recommend seeing an orthopedic specialist instead of their primary care provider (‘PCP') because of the expertise that an orthopedic specialist has. I typically see better medical and legal outcomes for clients that see an orthopedic specialist compared to clients that see their PCPs throughout the course of their case. For clients that have orthopedic injuries, they will usually be referred to get therapy. Clients will have the choice of seeing a physical therapist or a chiropractor. It is totally up to the client to choose. Therapy can last for a few weeks to a year or more depending on the severity of the injury.
Some clients recover from their injuries quickly. Other clients may recover slowly and need far more treatment. If the treatment a client gets does not immediately work, it is important to let the doctor know. Sometimes a client will have to be patient and wait longer for the treatment to work. Other times the doctor can offer different types of treatment if they know the client is still suffering. The worst thing a client can do when the treatment isn't working is to stop getting treatment and not let anyone know that the treatment hasn't been working. If the client doesn't let anyone know, doctors and insurance companies will assume that the client stopped treatment because the treatment DID work. In these cases, the client will get a lousy medical and legal outcome.
Often the treatment available to a client will be impacted by what health insurance coverage the client has.
Attorneys can help guide a client to get the treatment that the client needs, and that the client wants.