Talking to Doctors About Your Car Crash Injuries

stretching patient's arm and shoulderWhen we visit the doctor for a checkup or to ask about a medical issue we are experiencing, sometimes we forget to mention things. You may not think that certain thing is worth mentioning but doctors can only treat symptoms they know about. This is especially important after being injured in a car crash.

Being thorough when talking to doctors about your injuries can optimize the medical care you receive and help connect your injuries to the car crash. Omitting information – intentionally or not – can make you appear less credible to the insurance company and potentially hurt the value of your claim.

Below, our experienced Oshkosh auto accident lawyers discuss what car crash victims should talk about with their doctors. This includes keeping your doctor updated on new or worsening symptoms. If you have questions about your rights after being injured in a crash, contact us to set up a free consultation.

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Telling Your Doctor About the Car Crash

Receiving medical care following a car crash is important to protect your health, but what information does the doctor need to know? Your doctor will likely have questions about how the crash happened. Answering these questions can help the doctor properly diagnose and treat your injuries.

Tell your doctor what you remember about the car crash, such as the type of crash (i.e. t-boned or rear-ended) and where it happened. If there is a lot of damage to your vehicle, tell your doctor about the severity of the impact/damage. Any details you are able to provide could help your doctor better understand the injuries you may have suffered to get you the treatment you need. For instance:

  • Were you tossed around during the crash?
  • Did you hit your head and lose consciousness?
  • Did any part of your body hit a hard object?
  • Were you wearing your seat belt?
  • Was the vehicle moving or stopped?

If your head hit the steering wheel, dashboard or window during the car crash, it could cause you to suffer a concussion or worse, a traumatic brain injury. Be sure to describe how and what part of your head was hit. If you are unsure about any details, it is important to be honest and say, “I do not know.”

Do not exaggerate about the car crash as this could affect your credibility as you pursue compensation. If what you say is later found to be false or embellished, your claim may be hurt.

The insurance company may also significantly undervalue your claim by stating that your injuries are not as serious as you say. You do not want to give the insurance company anything to use against you.

Describing Your Injuries to the Doctor

Car crash victims often minimize or leave out details about their injuries or pain. Perhaps they think that their pain is minor, their symptoms are not related to the crash, or that their injury will heal on its own. Other victims may not want to be seen as overly sensitive or dramatic.

However, not mentioning even the most minor symptoms you are experiencing can make it more difficult for your doctor to determine the extent of your injuries and where you are with your pain.

Certain injuries (i.e. internal bleeding or head trauma) may remain hidden. It may take days or weeks for symptoms to fully develop. Any delay in treatment could impact your doctor’s ability to assess and stabilize your injuries to prevent them from getting worse.

Without treatment, your injuries can become more severe, and your recovery may take longer. For instance, a bleed in the brain after a car crash could cause permanent brain damage or result in death if you wait too long to seek medical care.

Be sure to let your doctor know about the symptoms you are experiencing, such as:

  • Aching, burning or stabbing pain
  • Headaches, dizziness or confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Limited range of motion or mobility

If you are having radiating pain or numbness in your upper or lower extremities, mentioning these symptoms is critical. You may have suffered an internal injury, nerve damage or a brain injury.

Mention Your Health History or Preexisting Injuries

It is also important for your doctor to know your full health history. This includes any preexisting injuries. Your doctor can determine if you may have aggravated an existing injury in the car crash. He or she can help distinguish between issues caused by your preexisting injury and those caused by your new injury.

If you are worried about revealing a preexisting injury because it may hurt your claim, know that you may still pursue compensation. The insurance company may say the symptoms you are experiencing are related to your preexisting injury, but an experienced lawyer can refute these claims. If an accident aggravates your preexisting condition, the aggravation is compensable.

Keeping Your Doctor Informed of Treatment

Be sure to keep your doctor informed about the progress of your treatment. This includes if your injury has gotten worse, if any new symptoms have appeared or if treatment has been working.

Your doctor can update your medical record, which can help validate your injuries and connect them to the car crash. If you wish to settle your claim, it is important to wait until treatment ends and you have reached maximum medical improvement. This will show that you are trying to get better.

If you decide to stop treatment or do not follow your doctor’s orders, the insurance company may say you are not as injured as you claim and do not need the compensation you are asking for or that your claim isn’t worth as much.

If you are worried about getting a second opinion on your treatment, know that a lawyer at our firm is ready to counter any arguments made by the insurance company trying to devalue your claim.

Injured in a Car Crash? We Are Here to Help

At Sigman Janssen, we have helped thousands of car crash victims over the years obtain the compensation needed to cover their medical bills and recover from their injuries. We are here to answer any questions you may have and explain how we may be able to help you.

The initial consultation is free and confidential. There are no upfront fees for our services.

Call (920) 328-0699 for a Free Case Review.