July 25, 2022
personal injury

Getting treatment for injuries after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can result in costly medical bills. If your doctor doesn’t have much experience with the type of injury you sustain, they can make mistakes when diagnosing your injuries. A doctor may dismiss your concerns or misdiagnose your injury, causing your condition to worsen and you to lose out on possible compensation.

Getting a second opinion from a specialist ensures your medical records accurately reflect the nature and severity of your injuries. Accurate medical records are critical in a personal injury lawsuit. The medical records help attorneys, insurance companies, and juries determine how much compensation you deserve.

Reasons to Seek a Second Opinion

Reasons to seek a second opinion include your doctor dismissing your worries, worsening symptoms despite treatment, an exam performed by a non-specialist doctor, or a risky or painful treatment plan.

Your doctor dismisses your concerns

You might feel that your doctor dismisses your concerns or attributes your symptoms to pre-existing conditions. This behavior happens more often to women and people of color due to bias, but having your symptoms ignored or minimized can happen to anyone.

If your doctor refuses to respond to clear requests for better communication, get a second opinion. Look for a doctor with a good reputation for listening to patients. Ask your attorney for recommendations.

Your symptoms don’t improve

If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen despite treatment, talk to your doctor and seek a second opinion. The doctor may have prescribed a conservative treatment with lower chances of success, or the doctor may have misdiagnosed you. A second opinion gives you clarity on your injury and treatment plan.

Quitting treatment because it doesn’t work devalues or possibly derails your claim. The defendant’s insurance company may say your injuries weren’t serious or claim you are responsible since you didn’t follow your doctor’s orders. Get a second opinion to assess the situation and follow the new prescribed treatment plan.

The original doctor is not a specialist

If you saw your general practitioner after the accident, they may not have the training to diagnose or treat the injuries you received in the crash. A specialist can pinpoint a cause your regular doctor missed and provide a more comprehensive treatment plan.

The proposed treatment is risky

If the doctor proposes a risky or painful treatment, a second opinion can give you more information on the procedure’s necessity and other treatment options. If at any time you don’t trust what your doctor tells you, consider a second opinion, and don’t be afraid to work with a new doctor.

Benefits of a Second Opinion

A second opinion can significantly bolster your personal injury claim if the first doctor dismissed you or misdiagnosed you. A study on diagnostic agreements showed that only 12% of patients received the same diagnosis after a referral, while 66% got more refined diagnoses and 21% received different diagnoses altogether. Patients with a change in diagnosis had significantly higher medical costs.

You will likely have to pay for your second opinion appointment, but the cost is worth it if you get a more accurate diagnosis.

A Second Opinion is Not an IME

An insurance company might attempt to force you to undergo an independent medical evaluation (IME). However, an IME is typically set up to benefit the insurance company. The company selects a doctor for you to see, usually a doctor who works with them regularly and may be incentivized to skew the results in the company’s favor.

The insurance company may use the IME to deny your claim. Talk to your lawyer before agreeing to undergo such an evaluation. You have the right to have your attorney or another witness present during the exam, and you have the right to record the whole procedure on video.

Getting a second opinion involves choosing and visiting a qualified specialist to examine your records and injuries. This doctor has an incentive to provide you with high-quality medical care. You can use this professional second opinion to bolster your claim and get a fair settlement.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

A personal injury lawyer with extensive experience will use your medical records to prove the extent and severity of your injuries resulting from your accident. Getting a second opinion can help ensure you get an accurate diagnosis resulting in a smooth recovery and may increase the value of your claim.

Contact a Montgomery personal injury lawyer with The Vance Law Firm for a free consultation today. We understand how the insurance companies attempt to deny claims, and we know how to fight back. We will aggressively protect your right to the maximum compensation you deserve.

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