May 23, 2024
personal injury

Medical treatment often results in costly medical bills. This can seem especially unfair if your injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence. Furthermore, 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

Common reasons we’ve recommended our clients seek a second opinion have included the doctor dismissing our clients’ worries, worsening symptoms despite treatment, an exam performed by a non-specialist doctor, and unnecessarily risky or painful treatment plans.

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 and could possibly derail 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 an injury 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 any other available treatment options. If at any time you don’t trust what your doctor tells you, consider getting a second opinion, and don’t be afraid to work with a new doctor.

What Injuries Might Require a Second Opinion?

Not all injuries will require a second opinion, but depending on how severely your injuries impact your daily life, there are several reasons why you might want to seek one.

Fractures

Many fractures will eventually heal on their own as long as they are properly set and immobilized by a doctor. All you may need is a sling or cast and to avoid usage of the limb until it’s healed. However, more severe breaks may need surgical intervention to ensure they heal properly, or need plates or screws implanted to reconnect the bones.

If you are concerned about needing surgery, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are almost always life-changing, as they can result in chronic pain and even paralysis if not properly treated. While there is no cure for paralysis, depending on the type of spinal cord injury and how it occurred, some patients can eventually recover some or all of their mobility through treatments such as surgery and physical therapy.

After a spinal cord injury, it’s critical to explore numerous treatment options.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Brain injuries are among the most dangerous because their effects can be so wide-ranging, from impacting memory and personality to the patient’s ability to sense their environment and control their body. But because they aren’t as visible as a broken bone, they might be missed or underestimated.

Getting a second opinion can help you better diagnose your brain injury and understand how it might impact your life in the future.

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 can use your medical records to help 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 Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today. We understand how 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.

Originally published July 25, 2022.

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