If you’re ever involved in a car accident, taking immediate care of your injuries is the most important thing you can do for your long-term health. Some people who decide its too much hassle to deal with all the doctors, lawyers, and insurance companies can wind up with chronic ailments that plague them for the rest of their lives, such as back or neck pain or even arthritis in joints.
Know the limitations of your primary care provider
A primary care doctor at a family medicine practice is a general specialist who assists with baseline health issues, but will typically send you to a specialist for more specific problems such as injuries arising from car accidents. While you might call your doctor and ask for their recommendation, you can certainly go straight to a specialist depending on your injury, and this is especially true for neck and back pain which requires very specialized treatment.
Explain your situation up front
The claims process for obtaining payment or reimbursement for medical expenses can take several months or even longer. Some medical practices routinely work with insurance claims and understand that payments may be delayed, but other offices will not be willing to accept these arrangements and may insist you pay out-of-pocket. This increases your financial risk in case your claim is denied, so it’s best to find practitioners willing to defer payment until the insurance claim is settled.
In some cases, it can be to your benefit to work with an auto accident lawyer, as this decreases the likelihood of your claim getting denied. If you contact a lawyer, provide this information to a potential specialist to prove that your claim is valid and in process, as this can sometimes help you get the care you need without the necessity of paying out-of-pocket. In many cases, an auto accident lawyer in Mobile, AL, for example, already has their own network of doctors in the Mobile area who are willing to defer payment, and your lawyer will likely have their own local network as well. So you might also request a specialist recommendation from your lawyer.
Don’t hold anything back
Many people are embarrassed or ashamed to admit when they are in chronic pain; some may feel they will be perceived as “pill-poppers” or seeking to avoid work, while others just never developed enough of a rapport with their healthcare professionals to feel comfortable providing all the private details about their condition.
If you will not be your own strongest advocate for your health, nobody else can. Doctors and specialists cannot read your mind, and while there are several tests that can be performed to more accurately determine the nature of your injuries, the more details you can provide, the higher quality care you will receive.
Once a specialist has performed all tests necessary to accurately diagnose your injury and develop a treatment plan, it’s vital that you do your part — take your full dosage of prescribed medication, rest and avoid physical activity as instructed, and show up to every therapy appointment or re-schedule rather than cancel if you have a conflict. Any indication that you have not followed your treatment plan could be taken by the insurance company to mean the severity of your injury was overstated, and this could increase the risk of having your claim denied.
Furthermore, failing to follow the full treatment prescribed for recovery also increases the risk that you will not make a full recovery and will have chronic pain or limited mobility long after the accident. And you will likely not be compensated for long-term effects if you failed to adhere to your post-accident recovery plan.