Why have a doctor treating you that does not understand the condition that you have or, even worse, may be missing your real injuries? Doctors who understand the spinal ligament injury know how to properly diagnose it (X-ray, CRMA, MRI). They know how to properly identify both the severity and the location of this type of injury. If they do not and you are treating with them, in my experience your chances of an optimal recovery can be significantly reduced, which means that you may needlessly suffer for the rest of your life. Before you treat with any doctor for a spinal ligament injury, a sprained back or neck, or whiplash, make sure the doctor knows how to locate, and determine the severity of this injury. How hard is it for a doctor to take some x-rays and send them into a service where highly trained radiologists can perform an accurate spinal intersegmental motion study of the injured of the area? It’s not hard at all; do not tolerate those who do not know what you now know!
Today it is equally as irresponsible to simply hire any personal injury attorney to help you. You are going to be paying them a good portion of your benefits money for what, in many cases, is not so much legal work on their part. They do not charge by the hour in personal injury cases. I am not saying that personal injury attorneys do not work; rather they do not do much legal work and would prefer to become more of a settlement broker than an attorney. I say this because law is practiced in a courtroom, yet it is reported nationally that only 4-5% of any injury cases ever end up in court. 4-5%! I think the actual numbers are closer to 1-2%.
Since you are going to be paying them a good amount of your money out of any of your benefits, you should hire an attorney that understands both your condition and what the insurance company’s documentation needs are, and they should be able to explain both to you. They also need to understand what the common testing procedures are for these injuries. They need to be familiar with injury coding so as to make sure that all of your injuries are properly listed in their final demand report. They need to include your impairment rating, your loss of enjoyment of life (LOE) factors, and any DUD, Duties under Duress factors from your permanent injuries.
If these BASIC things are not in their final report to the insurer for your settlement request, your chance of getting a fair benefits package are slim to none in my experience. Your medical records are yours and you can get a complete copy of them any time you want to. Remember it is stated that 40% of diagnoses are wrong and this can cause you injury, and in some cases a lifetime of avoidable pain and suffering. If you think something has been missed or is missing in your file you can ask your provider to correct it.
When you hire an attorney, they are working for you. Anything in their files, including their demand package or settlement report, is yours. You can ask your attorney to review it with you at any time, and I highly recommend that you do. Have them thoroughly explain everything that is in it and, if the above stated items are not in it, have them explain why? Remember they are working for you – you are their employer. If you want something reported to the insurer by them, you have every right to demand it.
Doctors and attorneys are paid very well. They may whine that this is not the case, but usually they whine from some of the nicest neighborhoods in America. In my professional experience, it is okay that they should be pressed to be highly effective. The truly good doctors and attorneys will not mind at all. In fact, they will appreciate an educated consumer.
I really hope that you will take the time to apply what you have learned here. Do not take these spinal injuries lightly. Find a doctor that knows or specializes in this type of injury and then follow everything they say to do to the letter. Ask questions, but follow their instructions, as they have usually put many before you successfully through this process!
I want to conclude with my thanks for taking the time to read this through to the end, giving me the opportunity to provide you with insight that can truly help either yourself or the people that you care about. Thank you.
I also want to thank the truly gifted doctors that have persisted through the storm of misinformation that has existed, and instead stayed the course and truly provided great results for the many patients that suffer through these injuries!
I want to thank the attorneys that have stayed current on both the significance of these injuries and what the insurance industry documentation needs are. These are the attorneys that do NOT interfere with patient care, but rather become a huge support to both their client and the doctors that serve that client.
Lastly, use the information in the report to help you choose your medical and legal help wisely. Your health and finances can be detrimentally affected – perhaps permanently with the wrong choices – so choose as wisely as you can and always ask questions! Remember these professionals are working for you!