Ranken & Shnider, Attorneys at Law Aug. 24, 2020

I do recommend to each client to keep a journal. It is a very good idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, it may be up to a year or more before you get to the point in litigation when you will sit for a deposition and explain everything that happened since the accident. By that time a lot of details have faded from memory. I can present a much more impactful case to an insurance adjustor or a jury if I am able to explain details about what my client was going through in terms of physical pain and disruption of their lives.

I encourage my clients to keep a log for a week at a time, maybe starting very soon after the accident. Keep a very detailed log of what they are going through physically and in terms of the effects on their work and their private lives. Write down the activities that they cannot do and specific incidents of disruption caused by those injuries. I do not insist that clients do that continuously, but maybe for a week and then take a month off and do another week. We can get a sample at different stages of healing how they are feeling and what they are going through.

The medical records will have all the details of the trips to the doctor, but it is important that the client keep a list of what doctors they have seen. This way we can make sure that we get all the medical records from the massage and physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncture, and any other kind of healthcare providers that they have been to since the accident. Then we will take that list and assemble and order the medical records from those medical care providers. We will have a complete set of medical records that we can use in trying to settle the case or prepare for the trial.

How Soon Should Someone Seek Medical Treatment Following an Injury?

Within days and definitely within a week, right after an injury everyone should seek medical treatment. If one waits longer than that, an arbitrator, insurance adjustor, or member of the jury will look like the person either was not really hurt or that maybe their injury was not caused by the accident, but by something else. Not only is it important to go to a doctor as soon as possible after being in an accident, but it is important to see a medical doctor, ( M.D.). Many people after an accident will just go to their chiropractor. Well a lot of people do find they get benefits from chiropractic treatment, but as the attorney representing this person I can do much better if I have a medical doctor as well as documenting pertinent information on their injuries and offering a medical diagnosis. Whether or not the person eventually seeks alternative forms of treatment that is their choice.

How Important Is It to Follow Doctor’s Orders in A Personal Injury claim?

It is very important to follow a physician’s orders, because a jury or insurance adjustor will assume that if the person did not make appointments then they were feeling pretty good and most likely not really injured as badly as they say. It is especially important to follow through with the doctor’s recommendations for physical therapy. Many times if there is a suspected back, neck or spinal injury, the doctor, typical with auto accidents, the doctor will recommend the person go through a course of physical therapy, at least several weeks’ worth.

That is important, because active participation in treatment gets a lot of credit. They really need to show a dedication to their own healing by being willing to listen to all healthcare providers and practice what is preached to them. On the other hand if they miss sessions or drop out of physical therapy that will be taken into consideration with the thought that they are now feeling well and not really hurt so badly.

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