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Questions to Ask Your Doctor After an Accident

Questions to Ask Your Doctor After an AccidentIt’s natural to be scared when you have injuries due to a car accident, a fall on someone’s property, or an accident due to a product defect. Parents have about 1,000 questions rushing their minds when they learn a child has a birth injury. Most patients and families meet with numerous doctors after they have been hurt. There’s the initial emergency room doctor. There’s their primary physician. Many patients require surgery, which is performed by a general surgeon, a neurologist, an orthopedist, or other doctors. Chicago accident victims seek advice from different specialists such as pain management doctors. Each visit with a different doctor means more questions.

Your doctors will have questions, too. Normally, doctors will ask patients questions about how the accident happened and how they are feeling now. Physicians will ask patients about all their symptoms. Doctors normally conduct physical tests such as checking your breathing, blood pressure, and pulse. Depending on the types of injuries you have, doctors will ask you to take certain tests such as blood tests and X-rays so the doctors can make a diagnosis.

There are a few key principles to keep in mind. Accident victims need to tell their doctor what happened. The session with your doctor is no time to be brave. If you’re hurting, the doctor needs to know where you hurt, how severe the hurt is, and how often you feel pain. Patients should always feel free to ask as many questions as they have. Sometimes, it helps to write down your questions on a piece of paper and then bring your paper to the doctor’s visit. It can help to bring a spouse, parent, or friend to help ask questions, too.

But if you’re going it alone, or if you’re worried you’ll forget to get the information you need, we have some suggestions:

  • What types of treatments will I need? Many victims of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, and other serious accidents require surgery. In some cases, the need for surgery may be immediately after the accident. Many victims need to consult with specialists in addition to their family doctor. Most accident victims also need to meet with non-physician healthcare providers. Treatments may include medications and the use of assistive devices in addition to different forms of therapy. Patients have the right to know what treatments are used for their type of injuries.
  • How long will it take before I begin to feel better? The answer to this question depends on many factors. Some patients, even with the best medical care, will live with permanent injuries such as scarring, spinal cord trauma, or an amputation. Other injuries, such as broken bones, often heal with time. Your physician should be able to give you a reasonable idea of how long each treatment takes before you should feel some improvement.
  • What type of non-physician healthcare providers will I need to see? Many accident victims need long-term rehabilitative care. Patients often treat with physical therapists who help with strength and mobility. Occupational therapists help Chicago accident victims adjust to day-to-day living including learning how to use assistive devices. Vocational therapists help the accident victim return to work or learn new job skills. Psychologists help patients cope with the emotional stress of living with their injuries.
  • How will the injuries affect my daily living? Neurologists, burn injury doctors, orthopedists, and other doctors should have a reasonable idea of how your injuries will affect you, based on the physical and mental limitations of each injury and how similar patients have been affected. If, for example, your break your dominant arm; then, until the arm heals, you likely will have difficulty eating, going to sleep, driving, writing, hugging your spouse, or caressing your children.
  • Are there any resources I can consult? Doctors should be able to explain what counseling is available to help you cope. Many hospitals, for example, have organizations that involve people who have or who have survived similar injuries.

There are normally two key phases to every type of injury when the injury is due to an accident. The first phase is the care the victim needs to reach maximum medical improvement. Maximum medical improvement is the time when additional treatments are not expected to improve your medical condition.

The second phase is the care you will need to ensure your condition doesn’t worsen and to manage the help you will need when you’ve reached the point of maximum medical improvement.

What is the doctrine of informed consent?

Doctors are required to explain the risks and possible side effects of every procedure and treatment. Failure to explain these risks and to obtain written consent (especially for any surgeries) may be medical malpractice.

While there are no guarantees, your doctors should be able to explain the known dangers and how likely those dangers are to occur. Patients should ask questions to ensure they understand all the risks and the consequences for each risk. Patients should ask their doctors to explain the risks involved in not having the procedure or treatment.

Questions our lawyers ask to build your personal injury case

At Gainsberg Law, our Chicago personal injury lawyers also ask your healthcare providers to answer numerous questions. We want your doctor to prepare a report that summarizes your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatments.  We review these answers to ensure your doctor is giving a full explanation of each phase of your care.

Our lawyers ask your doctors to identify:

  • How severe your injuries are.
  • What long-term care you will need. Patients with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, limb loss, and all other injuries may require medical care for the rest of their lives.
  • All the ways your injuries are currently affecting your life. This includes your ability to work and your ability to perform basic functions such as standing and sleeping.
  • All the ways your injuries will affect you for the rest of your life.
  • How much pain you are in, the type of pain, and how long the pain should last - even after you have completed your medical treatments.
  • Many other issues depending on the type of injuries you have and the severity.

Injuries are frightening. It’s natural to worry. Chicago accident victims need to remember that their doctors and health providers work for them. If a doctor isn’t answering your questions, it might be time to see another doctor. At Gainsberg Law P.C., we’ll review your medical concerns. We’ll discuss with you what questions you should be asking your physicians. To discuss any accident claim, call us at 312-600-9585, or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Rest assured – our lawyers will answer all your questions.