Do You Still Have to Go to Your Medical Appointments if You’re Feeling Better?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Carson R. Runge with Sloan Firm.
If you or a loved one were injured in a situation that might have been caused or contributed to by another party’s negligence, it’s important to seek medical care right away. Similarly important is the need for an injured patient to return to the doctor for follow-up appointments as requested, even if they are feeling better. This is an important step in any personal injury case, and it may be especially important after a workplace injury.
Even if an injury seems relatively minor at first, it’s important to remember that many injuries can become more painful with time. Additionally, if you are receiving treatment for an injury, it is important to continue with that treatment until it is complete and you have reached Maximum Medical Recovery (MMR); it is not uncommon for an injury to fade for a little while before more problems related to the injury start cropping up in the future. If you or a loved one were injured at work or by someone else’s negligence, reach out to a workers’ comp or personal injury attorney right away.
Do not wait to seek medical care.
Waiting to seek medical care after any kind of accident or injury is strongly advised against. Even if you do not feel injured initially after an accident, it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional. This ensures that an official record exists documenting what happened, when, and any potential injuries, as well as preventing the liable party from arguing that you couldn’t have been that hurt if you were able to wait to seek care. While it may be tempting to tough it out for injuries that seem minor, this is never a good idea. Some injuries can worsen with time and/or without treatment, but if the injury is not documented at its start, it can be much harder to make a successful recovery, both physically and financially.
Failing to follow your doctor’s advice and attend follow-up appointments can hurt your case.
Paramount in importance to seeking medical care as soon as possible after an accident or injury is following your doctor’s advice. If this means icing the injured body part and keeping it elevated, taking medication, committing to physical therapy, and/or attending follow-up medical appointments to check on your condition, do so. Failing to follow your doctor’s advice after an injury can have a negative impact on your case; if your injury worsens or takes longer to heal, it will be difficult to suss out whether that delay was the result of your injury’s severity or of your own negligence in failing to take care of yourself and follow the doctor’s recommendations. This includes attending follow-up appointments.
In the case of workplace injuries, failing to follow your doctor’s advice and attend follow-up appointments could actually impact your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp generally allows an injured employee to seek medical care from an in-network medical provider, but the benefits may end if a worker violates their care plan or returns to work before the doctor’s recommendation.
It is not uncommon for someone to think they are healed only to experience additional symptoms later on.
Attorneys generally like to wait until a client has reached Maximum Medical Recovery (MMR) before deciding what kind of damages they are eligible to seek compensation for. MMR may not occur until months or years after the injury, depending on its severity, and ensures that any remaining damages to a person’s body, livelihood, and finances are completely accounted for. Settling an injury case before reaching MMR can be dangerous, as it often results in settlement amounts that are much too low to compensate for the future damages an injured person may suffer.
To learn more about what not to do after an injury, or for help filing a claim after an injury, reach out to a personal injury attorney.