We’ve written before about a number of mistakes that you can make from the time that your accident first occurs and throughout your medical treatment that can adversely affect your Florida personal injury claim. However, I was recently asked by a new client “What is the worst mistake that I can make that will damage my claim?” After giving this some thought, I came up with an answer to this question (it didn’t take long). Unfortunately, the answer was something that we see happen quite often, despite our advice. That is failing to comply and follow through with all of your doctor’s recommendations.
Why it’s Important to Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
To explain the significance of following your doctor’s advice, let’s look at a real-life example that recently occurred with one of our clients. Our client was injured in a car crash that was 100% the fault of the other driver. Immediately following the crash, she began to experience both neck and back pain. She then began treatment for her injuries. Like most cases, our client’s injuries were not catastrophic, so treatment began with the most conservative form first, that being chiropractic care and physical therapy. If you’ve ever been injured, you know that most doctors want to try the least invasive and conservative treatments first and only after those have failed will they begin more invasive treatment before ultimately, as a last resort, opting for surgery.
During the chiropractic care and physical therapy, our client was also referred for an MRI, which revealed a herniated disc. Treatment continued for several months thereafter; however, our client did not experience significant relief and continued to suffer a high degree of pain. Ultimately, she was referred to a pain management specialist for further evaluation.
Many people have a misconception about pain management doctors, in that they think they only prescribe medications or narcotics to help alleviate pain. However, pain management involves much more, as there are a number of procedures that can be performed that can truly help people with their pain. Although the procedures do not typically provide permanent relief, they can provide relief for a significant period of time before the procedure needs to be repeated, or before a new procedure is recommended. This is why it is called pain “management.”
In this particular case, our client was evaluated by a pain management specialist who recommend epidural steroid injections. This is a common procedure for people who suffer disc injuries, and they are often quite successful at alleviating pain. However, in this case, our client was not willing to follow the doctor’s advice (despite our urging her to do so). Our client was adamant against injections or any other invasive procedure – not for any particular reason other than simply not wanting to do it. She did, however, want to settle her case. Accordingly, after obtaining all the medical records and agreeing on an amount, we sent a demand letter to the insurance company. Not surprisingly (at least to us), the offer made in response was extremely low. Needless to say, our client was not happy. She continued to stress how much pain she was in, and would cite this as the reason why she deserved a much higher settlement.
Unfortunately, when an injured person refuses to follow their doctor’s advice for treatment that the doctor recommends as way to potentially get better, the insurance company is not going to believe that the person is injured or that their injury is very bad. Merely complaining that you’re in pain is not going to change the insurance company’s offer. While we believe that our client was seriously injured and did, in fact, suffer pain as she described, there was little we could do to change the result under the circumstances. The only other option would have been to file a lawsuit; however, for the same reason, this would unlikely have made any difference – and, in fact, would more likely than not have resulted in a lower recovery due to the costs of litigation.
Ultimately, we were able to resolve our client’s claim, and after negotiating with the doctors on their bills, we were able to at least get our client some compensation for what she had gone through. The moral of this story is that when you’re pursuing an injury claim, doing everything that is recommended to try and get better is of the utmost importance to both the insurance company evaluating your claim, and to a jury who may be asked to decide your case. Failing to do so can destroy your case.
Trust SouthShore Injury Attorneys With
Your Florida Personal Injury Claim
After an accident, it is important that you find a qualified Apollo Beach personal injury attorney to handle your claim. The attorneys at SouthShore Injury Attorneys handle only personal injury claims, and are experienced in representing injury victims throughout the State of Florida. If you’ve suffered injuries in an Apollo Beach personal injury accident, contact SouthShore Injury Attorneys at (813) 419-3866 for a free consultation.
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