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How honest should I be with my doctor?

If you’ve reached a certain age, you may be used to the aches and pains of daily living. In fact, you’re probably accustomed to downplaying their severity.

“How are you doing today, grandma?”

“Oh, fine. Just fine.” Never mind the constant hip pain, creaky knee joints and other inconveniences. All part of getting older, right? No one wants to hear that stuff.

When it comes to a personal injury claim, however, you’ve crossed a threshold where radical honesty should be the norm, especially with your doctor. The success of your case against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own Uninsured Motorist insurer depends on complete honesty with your treating doctors.

Doctor’s Visit: No Pain Is Too Small To Report 

Car accidents, falls and other sudden events can be not only painful but disturbing and disruptive to everything in your life. If you’re like most people, you probably just want these events to go away and have life return to normal. However, that impulse can cause you to avoid necessary treatment or to downplay the severity of your injuries. A traumatic brain injury can start as a simple headache. Stomach discomfort can stem from internal bleeding. Tingling in your hands could indicate a nerve injury. You just don’t know.  

Because of that, when you’re talking to your doctor after an accident — which you should do as soon as possible — you need to be completely and even uncomfortably honest. Tell them everything: the pain you’re experiencing, numbness, queasiness or any change at all from your normal self. Remember that your goal is to return to the state of health you were experiencing before the trauma. So when talking with your doctor, use that as a baseline. 

Could these small discomforts be nothing? Just something minor that will clear up on its own? Yes. But, they could also be something serious. If so, you’re going to have a fight on your hands when it comes to getting a settlement or a verdict if it is necessary to go to trial.

Insurance: No Claim Is Too Small To Deny 

Enter the insurance company. The insurance company’s job is to make money, and the way to make money is to deny or diminish the value of every claim possible. If you wait to go the doctor’s office or report something later that you didn’t mention to the doctor initially, the insurance company will seize on that as evidence that your condition is unrelated to the accident or fall. They may also claim that your injury isn’t that serious, since it would have caused you to seek immediate treatment otherwise. And if you do not follow your doctor’s instructions without a VERY good excuse, they will use your actions to say you weren’t really injured, because injured people go to the doctor and follow their doctor’s instructions.  

Even if these positions taken by the insurer or its attorneys are false, they can still undermine your ability to recover the full compensation you deserve. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. The more medical documentation you have to prove the validity and significance of your injuries, the better off you’ll be.

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