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Personal Injury Lawyers in Southwest Virginia, Virginia, and Nationally

Nurture You; Nurture Your Claim

One of my objectives in any personal injury case is to take care of my client and get him or her back on the road to recovery as soon as possible.  Doing the work we do, we gain a ton of knowledge regarding different medical treatment, anatomy, different health care providers who have helped other patients with similar issues, and other Nurture the person; nurture the casemodalities that have helped our other clients over the years.  I am not advocating “practicing medicine” here, only to share information to help the client be better informed.  As an example, I have shown a client an anatomical chart of the neck muscles to help the client better understand what parts of their body are hurting.  Another example, I urged a client with a heart issue to go to UVA for immediate treatment when her local doctor did not think she had a serious issue.  As it turned out, her trip to UVA saved her life.

Plaintiff attorneys sometimes get a bad rap for “milking” the medical treatment and bills and pumping up claims.  I don’t know any attorneys like that personally that but I do not doubt that they are out there.  I will assume that some of those lawyers value the “claim” and not so much the client.  I value both, and we can take care of and nurture both while also maintaining integrity.  We value the client’s health first, and the claim second.

As most of you know, money is not everything – in fact, without good health it does not mean too much unless you need money to get better and to survive.  So, I have always tried to do what I can to support my client’s recovery.   Based upon my experience and the knowledge that I have gained through many years of handling automobile accidents, medical malpractice cases, and all forms of personal injury claims, coupled with my love of optimizing health and nutrition, I have actually helped clients recover faster – that means they return sooner to work, to their families and to the joys of life.

With that said, in my law practice over the years, I have found that taking care of my client’s claim coincides with helping my client get better faster.  Here are some suggestions to nurture both you, the client, and your claim:

  1. Go to the doctor when you have had an auto accident – even when you feel sore but “okay.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “well I hurt after the wreck but I thought I was going to be ok.”  Then “OK” turns out to be a torn shoulder rotator cuff or a herniated disc in the neck or a condition that causes permanent pain.   Sometimes symptoms of injuries are hidden at first.  And they reveal themselves days, even weeks later.  Sometimes you don’t know bad you are hurt.  It is always a good idea NOT to tough it out and DO let your doctor know your symptoms, so the professional health care provider can assess the serious of the injury and whether or not the injury needs treatment.
  1. When you are still hurting, and not getting any better, go back and see your doctor and report your lack of progress. Obviously, once injured, you want to get better, not worse, and not remain the same.  Letting your doctor know the lack of progress gives him or her the opportunity to try new treatments and modalities so that you can improve and eventually hopefully recover.  This also helps the claim as the insurance company will argue that you are not hurting if you did not go to the doctor.  That makes no sense, I know, but such as it is.  They will not take your word for it – that you continued to have pain and symptoms after you last saw your doctor.  That’s the game – and they create the game.  But by going to see your doctor, both objectives are met – your doctor can help you get better and you will also make a report of your continued medical issues.
  1. Make a journal of your medical issues and their effects. Normally, in a non-claim injury, you wouldprobably not write down your symptoms or keep track of your pain, sleep issues, or limitations of activities.  However, if you did, this would be great information for your doctor.  In a automobile accident claim or other personal injury claim, this is most helpful to present to an adjuster as well as to the jury, if the claim is not resolved with the insurance company.
  1. Photograph any observable injuries. This certainly helps the claim side of things.  But it can also help show the doctor the gravity of injury and the precise location of injury.  Bruising and marks can fade, but more serious injuries can be underneath – deeper in the muscles and joints and even organs.  Showing your doctor where the impact was as revealed by photographed bruisings and marks, may assist your doctor, who sees you long after the bruises are gone, with diagnosis and treatment.
  1. Follow what your doctor recommends. Do not miss doctor’s appointments or therapy appointments if at all possible.  Of course, to follow what your doctor tells you helps you recover.  Attending your therapy appointments improves muscle strength, reduces inflammation, and improves flexibility.  If you miss appointments, don’t show up, cancel appointments, in the claims world that is considered a failure to mitigate your damages and also shows a lack of desire to recover.  The goal here is to be as perfect of a patient as possible — to recover and to take care of the claim.
  1. Tell your doctor exactly and thoroughly what hurts you, what your limitations are, and how your injuries are affecting your life, physically and emotionally – no more, but certainly no less. Your doctor must have all of the information from you in order to treat you.  But he doesn’t need a drama queen or king either.  Be precise and be complete when giving your symptoms and their effects, but don’t be over the top in describing your issues.  I have had several clients over the years who have reported to their doctors, “my whole body hurts.”   Well, that was not really accurate.  I know what they mean as in sometimes after a wreck, a client can feel like they have been run over by a Mack truck.  However, comments like that in a medical record can be exploited by the adjuster and considered “histrionic.”  We (the client or the plaintiff’s lawyer) can never look like we are making more than it is – plaintiffs simply cannot travel that dangerous path.  To overcome the “plaintiff bias,” a client must be precise, of course, truthful, and complete when describing symptoms and their effects.  It can be no more, but no less either.

Nurturing you and your claims should be complementary and singular in purpose.  Of course, your attorney is the resource for you to help you take care of your claim.  Not all attorneys help their clients in the manner I do with regard to helping them get back on the road of recovery faster.  And that’s ok.  That is just the way I wish to help my clients.  However, both client and claim need to be nurtured and the above suggestions may help any client heal faster and as well as help to protect their personal injury claim.