Even minor car accidents can result in injuries. But many injuries, including soft tissue damage and internal bleeding, may not produce immediate symptoms. As such, it is imperative to seek medical treatment after an accident, no matter how small.
Although one might assume that post-accident medical treatment is a given, many injury victims find it challenging to get their physician to see them following a motor vehicle crash.
If you have been injured and are struggling to be seen by your doctor, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law can help.
Contact us today at 832-745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
Why It’s Important to Get Treatment After an Accident in Houston
The most obvious reason for seeing a doctor after an auto accident is—of course—your health and safety. Many people don’t notice symptoms until some time after a collision; the delay in onset can range from a few hours to a few weeks. The adrenaline and endorphins released by your body during a traumatic situation can often hide pain for an extended period of time.
The second reason to see a doctor is to have a record in case you decide to make a personal injury claim. Medical records are a valuable form of evidence in a personal injury case because they provide thorough, expert observation of your condition, delivered by an objective third party. If you decide to claim damages, expenses for medical treatment will be factored into your settlement in a personal injury case.
If you call your primary care physician to schedule an appointment immediately following an accident, you may be surprised when they refuse to see you. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer Houston today.
Why Your Doctor Won’t See You After a Car Accident in Houston
There are several reasons why your primary care physician might refuse to see you after a car accident.
- He/she doesn’t handle “third-party claims.” Third-party claims are insurance claims filed with an entity other than your health insurance carrier, such as your auto insurer. Doctors are accustomed to filing with health insurance companies, with which they have special contracts and negotiated pricing. With third-party carriers, your doctor has no way of knowing how much they’ll receive in payment. Processing the claim can also take significantly longer, as the insurance companies and court must determine who was at fault. Simply put, it’s too much of a hassle.
- Your health insurance has limited coverage for car accident injuries. If you try to file a claim with your health insurance carrier, you may find that your plan only pays a small fraction of your medical bills, or none at all. Or, your health insurance provider may not pay your physician until they are certain they can secure reimbursement from the responsible party. Your doctor’s billing department will likely anticipate this, and may refuse to treat you for fear of not getting paid.
- Your physician doesn’t want to get involved in your legal case. Personal injury suits can be lengthy, which means your doctor must wait longer to receive payment. Additionally, medical records of your treatment are valuable pieces of documentation in a personal injury case, and he/she may be called to testify. Appearing in court pulls them away from their practice and from treating other patients.
- Your doctor is not equipped to treat your injuries. Most auto accident injuries are “soft-tissue injuries,” such as whiplash; it may surprise you to learn that some doctors do not have experience treating such injuries. Most car crash victims need to see at least one type of injury specialist, such as a neurologist who concentrates on concussion treatment. A general physician is typically not the best person to treat injuries sustained in a car accident.
What to Do If Your Doctor Won’t See You
A refusal of treatment from your primary care physician can be discouraging, but don’t let it slow you down. Waiting to see a medical professional may worsen your injuries, and it can weaken a personal injury case. To prevent either of these things from happening, you should find a specialist who is well-versed in auto accident injuries, can perform a thorough examination, and will provide documentation with the level of detail needed to build a strong case.
Why is it so important to be seen by a specialist? As noted above, general practitioners often don’t have the experience to diagnose car crash injuries properly. They may send you home with painkillers for your headaches and back pain, but if you are seriously hurt, you will need more specialized treatment.
Additionally, it’s unlikely that the notes taken by a general practitioner will sufficiently reflect the extent of your injuries. This is an issue since these notes are factored into the adjuster’s valuation of your claim. Besides not receiving adequate medical care, this may damage your personal injury case, with your insurer basing their defense off the initial medical evaluation, making you look inconsistent.
Once you have sought medical treatment, it is in your best interest to seek skilled legal counsel. There are multiple moving parts to keep track of in the days following your accident, and it can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. This increases the risk of making costly mistakes. If you have been injured in any type of accident, contact an experienced Houston injury lawyer today.
Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer Houston early on will ensure that your medical records and accident reports contain the detail required to submit a well-substantiated claim to your insurance company. A simple consultation should be free, will inform you of your rights, and will determine whether you have a solid case. Retaining a Houston motor vehicle accident lawyer will relieve you of the general burden that personal injury claims can generate.
In Texas, you have two years from the time of the accident to file a claim. Filing sooner rather than later has several benefits. First, prompt filing can increase your credibility in the court’s eyes—if you were in pain, you’d want to resolve it right away!
Second, early filing gives your lawyer plenty of time to build your case and collect vital evidence. Texas is an at-fault state, which means that the court must determine the distribution of fault in an accident before anyone receives damages. As such, it’s essential that your attorney has ample time to gather evidence, contact and prepare expert witnesses, and request and review medical documentation from your doctor.
A good car accident lawyer can also help you get the medical attention you need in the interim. They can write a Letter of Protection (LOP) to your doctor, which promises that the doctor will receive payment from any recovery (funds won or settled upon) resulting from the case.
How to Find the Right Doctor After an Accident in Houston
Your primary care physician may not be able to help you directly, but they may know someone who can. Ask if they can recommend any injury specialists in your area. In many cases, your insurance carrier may even require an official doctor’s referral before they will cover a visit to a specialist.
Your best bet is to seek recommendations from trusted professionals who will refer you to other trusted professionals. Do your research when choosing a specialist. Unfortunately, a grifting industry has sprung up around personal injury accidents in the form of “pain mills,” clinics whose primary goal is to use up your insurance money on expensive and unnecessary treatments. These clinics are well-known in the medical and legal professions, and as such, can severely weaken a case if the plaintiff reports using one in their treatment. Red flags of pain mills include:
- Frequent and aggressive advertising, especially on television or via telemarketing;
- A promise of payment, often even a specific figure;
- A promise of speedy results for either pain relief, settlement, or both.
Fortunately, their notoriety also means that an experienced personal injury attorney can steer you clear of the frauds, and your doctor can direct you to reputable specialists.
Based on the symptoms you report, your physician should refer you to the appropriate specialist for your type of injury. Some of the most common injury specialists include:
- Orthopedists—skeletomuscular injuries, like broken bones;
- Neurologists—nervous system injuries, like concussions and other Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs);
- Physiatrists—pain management;
- Chiropractors—spine and neck injuries, and injuries to the respective joints.
Contact DeHoyos Law Today
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law can help. Our experienced, compassionate lawyers are committed to recovering the maximum compensation for our clients. We have an impressive track record of obtaining the results our clients want, and we tailor our legal strategy to each client’s unique needs. If you have been harmed, we can help. Contact DeHoyos Law today at 832-745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.