After an auto accident, the most important thing you can do is seek medical treatment for your injuries.
Being fully examined by a doctor does two things. First, it helps diagnose ALL injuries you may have suffered in the crash, including internal injuries that may take time to show up. And second, it creates an official record of the injuries you suffered during the crash, which can be valuable evidence if you seek compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
But should you always trust the opinion or diagnosis of the first doctor you see after your accident? It can be worthwhile to get a second opinion, and here’s why.
Your doctor didn’t take your injuries seriously.
Doctors are trained to look for physical evidence of injuries and illnesses. But sometimes, injuries can be difficult to detect, or when they’re discovered, doctors can easily misdiagnose their severity. In addition, debilitating complications of injuries such as nerve damage and pain may be misinterpreted by doctors or even dismissed when mentioned by patients.
If you think your doctor is downplaying your injuries, you may need a second opinion. Accurately determining how much an injury interferes with quality of life and even your ability to work can require more intensive examinations and testing than many doctors are willing to do.
Your injuries don’t match up with your doctor’s diagnosis.
Adrenaline can mask a great deal of pain associated with an auto accident. And some internal injuries may not be readily apparent immediately after a crash. It’s common for auto accident victims to feel only minor effects from a crash, only to experience severe pain and complications days or weeks later.
Although you should get medical attention as soon as possible after your crash, your symptoms may be completely different just a few days later. And if your doctor didn’t catch those symptoms—or if he dismissed them—seeking a second opinion can help you get a more complete picture of how your crash affected you.
Your doctor won’t be comfortable in court (if necessary).
Although most auto accident claims settle long before reaching the courtroom, some require going to trial. And when that happens, victims’ doctors are often called on to confirm their injuries are as severe, debilitating, and disabling as they claim.
However, not all doctors are comfortable with appearing in front of a judge and jury, and some may even be too busy to fit it into their schedules. In this case, seeking a second opinion can help, and your lawyer can help you find a doctor that will be able to support you in court if necessary.
You want further confirmation of your injuries from a healthcare provider.
Getting a second opinion isn’t always about getting a different diagnosis or finding new injuries and complications. Sometimes, it’s about getting peace of mind and knowing that your first doctor’s findings and diagnosis were accurate and that you’re seeking compensation for the right things.
In addition, having two doctors evaluate you can strengthen your claim, especially if their findings align. Although not always necessary, it’s hard for an insurance company to argue that your injuries aren’t serious when they have been diagnosed by two separate healthcare providers.
You weren’t fully open and honest with your doctor initially.
Exaggerating or downplaying your injuries can be hugely detrimental to your auto accident claim. If you exaggerate your injuries and the insurance company finds out, it may deny your claim and you may be left without any compensation. And if you downplay your injuries, you may need more compensation than what the insurance company offers.
The most accurate examinations and diagnoses require cooperation and transparency between doctors and their patients. If you left out critical information or embellished your injuries during your initial examination, seeking a second opinion—even from the same doctor—can help set the record straight should you pursue compensation for your injuries.
Unsure About a Second Opinion? We Can Help.
Not all auto accident victims need second opinions. In some cases, seeking a second opinion can make the insurance company more skeptical of your claim, as they may argue that you’re “doctor shopping” and trying to find one that will give you a favorable diagnosis to increase your chances of getting a settlement.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we’ve helped many injured Oklahomans after crashes that weren’t their fault, and we know the pros and cons of seeking medical opinions. After getting treated by a doctor, call our Oklahoma car accident attorneys and tell us what happened. We’ll review the facts of your claim and put together a solid game plan for getting you the money you deserve, whether that involves a second opinion or not.
Contact us today for a free consultation.