Get the Medical Care You Need After an Accident
Click on the frequently asked questions below for answers regarding medical care.
- Should I see a doctor?
- Who pays the medical bills?
- How do I know what type of doctor to see?
- How much information should I give to the doctor?
- What if the doctor keeps asking me to come back for more visits?
Your health comes first, before any other concern. If you have symptoms of injury, seek medical care, even if you believe or hope the symptoms will disappear with time – they may not. Proper documentation of medical evidence will also assist you if you later seek compensation for medical bills and for your injuries.
This is a complex question and not capable of an easy answer. Suffice it to say, there are several possible sources of medical bill payment, and the best source depends on the type of case you have and the insurance companies involved. Your attorney can coordinate medical coverage in order to maximize the dollars going directly to you, rather that having all the recovery going to payment of medical bills.
There are many different types of doctors and medical care providers that treat and care for injury victims. Some of the more common medical specialists you may see are described below.
Family Practitioner – These medical specialists deal with the general medical problems of all family members. Their training includes internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology and psychiatry.
Internal Medicine – Internists provide health care to adults for a variety of medical problems. They frequently specialize further into one or two of these areas. These subspecialties of internal medicine are:
- Allergy & Immunology – Allergies
- Cardiology- Heart problems
- Endocrinology – Gastrointestinal, pancreatic, & gallbladder disease
- Hematology – Blood and bone marrow diseases
- Infectious Diseases – Infections
- Nephrology – Kidney and high blood pressure
- Pulmonary – Lung related disorders
- Rheumatology – Arthritis and other joint and connective tissue problems
- Physiatry – This specialty is also known as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. It should not be confused with psychiatry. These doctors assist in the rehabilitation of patients with a wide variety of diseases and injuries, such as, spinal cord injuries, strokes and multiple sclerosis.
- Psychiatry – A psychiatrist is a medical doctor dealing with mental, emotional and behavior disorders.
- Neurology – These doctors treat diseases of the brain and spinal cord medically but not surgically. Their practice also involves the treatment of back and neck injuries.
- Surgery – The specialty of surgery, like internal medicine is divided into many subspecialties.
- Anesthesiology – In addition to their duties during surgery anesthesiologists also provide pain management for the injured.
- Cardiovascular Surgery – Heart and large blood vessels
- Colon & Rectal Surgery
- Neurosurgery – These doctors treat diseases of the brain and spinal cord surgically when indicated. Their practice also involves the medical management of back and neck injuries when surgery is not indicated.
- Ophthalmology – Eye related diseases
- Orthopedic Surgery – Medical and surgical treatment of bone joint, tendon, ligament and connective tissue diseases Like neurologists and neurosurgeons they often treat neck and back injuries. Some specialize only in hand injuries.
- Otolaryngology – Ear nose and throat (ENT)
- Plastic Surgery -These surgeons can often minimize the appearance of scars resulting from injuries.
- Thoracic Surgery – Chest surgeons that operate on lungs, diaphragm, heart, esophagus and other chest organs.
- Vascular – Surgery on arteries and veins.
- Osteopathic Medicine – These physicians receive essentially the same training as traditional medical doctors. They also frequently specialize in many traditional medical specialties listed above. Some osteopaths also treat with bone manipulation.
- Psychology – Psychologists collect and interpret information about emotional, social, and mental aspects of the injured person and apply the data to help the person cope with difficult situations. These practitioners can be very valuable in assisting injury victims with their injuries.
- Chiropractors – These practitioners are specialists in the manipulation of the spine and bones. Their approach to disease and health stresses disturbances in the nervous system. They do not prescribe prescription medication. In addition to manipulation a chiropractor may provide massage, heat/cold, ultrasound wave therapy, electrical stimulation and acupuncture.
- Naprapaths – One of the beliefs of many naprapaths is that scar tissue is formed on ligaments and other connective tissue as a result of trauma.Some feel that this scar tissue prevents the connective tissue from getting the proper amount of blood and nutrients and that this adversely affects the body. Treatment is provided by manipulation of the spine and many other areas of the body.
- Podiatrists – These doctors medically and surgically treat disorders of the feet. A podiatrist should not however, be confused with orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon is a physician licensed to practice medicine in all its branches. A podiatrist is not.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapists are not doctors. They provide treatment based on a prescription from a physician. The therapists teach patients how to exercise the injured area of the body. They also provide massage, heat and cold treatments, ultrasound and electrical stimulation. Therapists can often be your best source of information regarding your injury and the rehabilitation process.
When you see the doctor, he or she will ask how your injuries were caused. Provide a clear, detailed history of your accident, including the date. Be open and straightforward, including any history of prior injuries or illness. Many people try to be brave about their injuries and minimize their symptoms and complaints. Avoid this temptation, especially with your doctor. It is important that you provide a clear, complete, competent statement of all your symptoms, even if it seems minor at the time. A condition could worsen, and it may become important to show that symptoms began with the accident.
Keep your doctor appointments. In the best interests of your health, you should keep all scheduled appointments, clearly explain your symptoms to your doctor, and follow their prescribed treatment. This course of action will also assist you in proving the nature and extent of your injuries by creating medical evidence through the doctor’s records. Make notes on a calendar. Include such information as doctor visits, hospital tests, symptoms, and treatments. Also note other information on the date it occurs, such as lost time from work, payments received, telephone calls, or information regarding the accident. This information, recorded as it occurs, will assist you later in recalling details of your accident.
This content is intended to provide general information and guidance only. You should see an attorney and obtain advice if you have questions or concerns regarding your work injury. Most lawyers will not charge any fee for an initial consultation to review your case. Only by asking questions and obtaining answers will you obtain the rights and benefits to which you are entitled.