Follow Your Doctors Treatment Protocols

This may seem like a simple concept. However, you would not believe the number of people that come in to Brooks law Group with complaints of injuries, yet show no interest in complying with a doctor’s treatment protocol. It is the single most important element of your case. If you haven’t gotten to this point with your case yet and would like to learn more about what to do at the scene of the accident or how to find the right doctor, you can view the previous blogs for step 1 and step 2.

Regular and consistent treatment gives the doctor confidence to step up to the plate and provide a final report reflecting the degree of your permanent injuries. The doctor will have confidence that you have taken every step he/ she has suggested. Treating on a regular and consistent basis supports your case in multiple facets.

  • It gives you the best opportunity to get well
  • It documents your injuries
  • It reflects a genuine interest by you in your care (People who are really injured take time out of their busy day to go to a doctor on a regular basis. People who are not REALLY injured, DO not take the time and effort to go to the doctor)
  • It gives the doctor confidence to make a definitive clinical conclusion of permanent impairment if you’re consistently treating

Without treatment, in most instances you will not have a viable case. There is an old adage which says “all adjusters and all jurors are from Missouri”. Missouri is the “show me” state. They want to “see” (not hear) documentation supporting the claim.

Look at it from the Insurance Company Adjusters Perspective

An adjuster is a human being with a job and a boss. An adjuster’s primary job duty requires them to document their files to justify the check they ultimately may write to you to compensate for your injuries. Adjusters have bosses who demand that a file be well documented before money is paid. If they “over pay” a claim they could be reprimanded, demoted or even fired. Consequently, before an insurance adjuster is going to write you a check to compensate you for your injuries he/she will need to document his file.

The adjuster can justify writing a larger check if there are medical records that reflect a patient following doctors instructions and not missing treatment.

The adjuster might be justified in “underpaying” your claim in any of the following scenarios:

The injured person did not start treating until weeks after the accident.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

Not treating for weeks might mean that the accident did not even cause the injury. In fact the injury might have been caused by something that happened after the accident and now the injured party is trying to blame car accident that happened three weeks ago.

The injured person missed doctor’s appointments and has gaps in treatment.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

If someone is truly injured they will overcome all obstacles to make it to treatment so they can heal from their injuries. Non-injured people make up excuses why it is not important to treat with the doctor. They really aren’t hurt, they just want to get a fat check.

The injured person does not go back for treatment because he doesn’t feel like the doctor can help him. Besides, the doctor already knows what is wrong with him so why go back.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

This person is playing doctor. He/she basically has made the decision that he/she knows more about getting well than the doctor does. The adjuster sees a client who is hard to control, who doesn’t follow directions and is probably a loose cannon. This type of person doesn’t follow their doctors advice, doesn’t document their claim properly nor do they follow their lawyers advice at trial. Why overpay someone like this.

Each time the injured person sees his/her doctor they neglect to describe their continuing problems and/or pain. Unfortunately the patient assumes the doctor will intuitively know what their ongoing problems are without the patient having to “voice” on each visit.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

The adjuster see a patient who obviously healed very quickly which is confirmed by reviewing the medical records that lack complaints about their ongoing pain/problems. The patient simply isn’t voicing their problems to the doctor. This must mean that they healed very quickly. People that heal very quickly are not very injured and do not deserve much money.

The treating doctor suspects a more serious injury and refers the patient for an MRI. MRI’s and CT Scans can be very compelling evidence. These tests look inside your body and reveal damage that a regular x-ray will not reveal. However, the patient refuses to follow thru on getting the MRI because he/she is tired of having tests, is feeling better and just wants his/her case over with.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

The adjuster sees a lazy client who doesn’t care enough about his own recovery to obtain MRI or CT Scan evidence supporting a more severe injury than a regular x-ray might reveal. Obviously this client has little to nothing wrong with them.

The Client’s MRI reveals a herniated disc and is referred to a Neurosurgeon for a surgical consultation. The client continues to experience significant problems, but because they are scared of surgery he/she elects not to attend a meeting with the Neurosurgeon.

What an insurance adjuster sees:

Some people, as they age, may experience herniated discs. Sometimes herniated discs do not affect one person as severely as it might affect someone else. Obviously this person must not have a serious disc problem because he/she did not deem it important to consult with a Neurosurgeon. This case must not be worth much money.

I think you get the drift. Treat, treat, treat…follow your doctor’s orders and voice your problems/pain at each visit. This way you are not only giving yourself the best chance to heal but also documenting your claim from beginning to end. A well documented claim will give you negotiating leverage in the context of ultimately resolving your claim for money damages.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.