When you’re in recovery and in the middle of a personal injury case, medical appointments may feel overwhelming – both financially draining and time-consuming. Continuing to take your doctors’ professional medical advice might seem futile to you if you don’t feel like you’re in pain anymore.
However, it’s important to remember that your medical appointments will be reimbursed, whether you have insurance coverage or not, from your personal injury claim settlement. If you aren’t already covered (either through private insurance or No-Fault coverage), your attorney will issue a Lien Agreement to your medical provider which states that your medical expenses will be paid out of your settlement. In this scenario, your medical provider may become a lien claimant – an entity that is entitled to compensation for their services in your recovery paid out by your settlement (learn more about personal injury settlement liens). Unless you are financially drained to the point where you cannot keep afloat (in which case, you may want to consider legal funding (click here to learn about the pros and cons of legal funding), there’s no reason to worry about the costs of your medical appointments.
As far as medical treatment goes, always follow your medical doctors’ professional advice. You may feel like your injury is healed because you no longer feel pain. But depending on your injury, one wrong bodily maneuver could place you right back where you started or worse – with an exacerbated injury. Say, for instance, you have a pinched nerve in your lower back from your incident. Your doctor may recommend that you restrain from any heavy lifting for a period. Just because the pain has stopped does not mean that your injury isn’t susceptible to further injury.
But, aside from your own reasons, why might missing your medical appointments or ignoring medical advice hurt your personal injury case? We’d like to discuss this in detail…
Missing your doctors’ appointments may denote to your opposing counsel (as well as any insurance carriers covering your medical expenses) that you are not taking your case or your own recovery seriously. Since there’s essentially no reason for you to miss your doctors’ appointments, they’ll likely make the defense that your injury is less severe than you claim it to be. This can be a strong defense against your claim, which can devalue its worth. Additionally, if you are receiving No-Fault benefits for an injury you incurred in a car accident, you’re benefits are likely to be cut off. Insurance companies want to avoid paying out benefits, so it must be made certain that your injury is as severe as you claim it is. Missing doctors’ appointments relative to your injury create doubt, which is why it’s important to never miss any.
Ignoring your doctors’ professional medical advice relative to your recovery will elicit the same response from your opposing counsel as well as any insurance carriers covering your medical expenses. If your doctors’ notes reveal that you are not following their professional advice, your opposing counsel will make the defense that your injury is less severe than you claim it is. First and foremost, it’s in your best interest to recover as soon as possible. Following your doctors’ advice can serve as proof of both your pain and the rehabilitative steps you are taking to recover from your injury. Choosing not to follow them can be claimed as proof that you are not in pain, which will hurt your case in general.
Additionally, if you choose not to follow your doctors’ medical advice, your No-Fault carrier may deny your benefits. Say, for example, your doctor suggests physical therapy. Don’t attempt physical therapy on your own. Medical documentation is a necessity to prove to your insurance carrier that you are in fact undergoing physical therapy. If you attempt to rehabilitate yourself at home, there will be no medical documentation.