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In most cases, you should seek medical treatment immediately after you’ve been injured to identify and document a baseline of your diagnosable injuries.
To seek immediate treatment, you can go to either an urgent care or emergency room.
After receiving immediate treatment, you should follow the recommendations of your physician. This often includes consulting your primary care physician, who is most knowledgeable of your medical history and treatment needs.
1) When should I seek treatment after I’ve been injured?
2) Should I use my health insurance to pay my bills?
If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, you should still use your health insurance to pay your medical bills.
Whether your personal injury case resolves favorably or unfavorably, your medical bills will always be there.
Assuming your case resolves favorably, you should expect that all medical expenses will need to be reimbursed out of the final settlement. This includes reimbursing your health insurer.
3) Why is my Primary Care Physician important?
If you have an established relationship with a primary care physician, he can be important to your future treatment plan.
The primary care physician is familiar with the nuances of your medical history.
Likely, he also operates within your health insurance network, and he can refer you to medical specialists within your network to treat your particular symptoms and injuries (if you have health insurance).
4) Should I go to the emergency room every time I’m hurting?
It’s not advisable for you to go the emergency room unless you actually need emergency treatment.
If you need immediate treatment, another cheaper alternative is the local urgent care.
Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician at their soonest available date to allow them to determine your future treatment needs. These decisions obviously depend on the nature and severity of your injuries and symptoms.
If you lack health insurance or don't have a primary care physician, your attorney may be able to help connect you to a medical provider that is willing to work on a medical lien or has experience with your type of injuries.
5) How do I know what treatment I need?
You should trust the professional judgment of your treating physicians to identify what type of treatment you need.
This often starts with your primary care physician.
Be honest with your treating physicians about your medical history, symptoms, and injuries so they can make thoughtful recommendations and develop a treatment plan if you need one.
A medical lien is a legally enforceable lien for medical expenses associated with your personal injury case.
The health care provider who incurred the medical expense files the medical lien with the Superior Court.
The medical lien is only reimbursable out of the personal injury claim, and it entitles the healthcare provider to recover the medical expense they incurred in treating the injuries that are associated with your case.
6) What is a medical lien, and do I need to pay it back?
An injured person’s car insurance will only pay medical bills if there is medical payments coverage available.
Medical payments coverage is additional – or elective – coverage that helps pay medical costs in a way similar to health insurance.
Without medical payments coverage, an injured person’s car insurance will not cover any medical expenses.
7) Will my car insurance pay my medical bills?
A pre-existing injury can affect the value of a claim, though whether it affects the value favorably or unfavorably is a different question.
This question is highly fact specific to each particular person and specific injury.
Your pre-existing injury should not be the focus of your case or treatment. Instead, you should diligently report changes in your condition and symptoms promptly to your treating physicians and follow the treatment recommendations they provide.
8) Does a pre-existing injury affect the value of my claim?
The simplest way to avoid gaps in treatment is by promptly seeking medical attention as needed and following the medical recommendations of your treating physicians.
Problems arise when injured people attempt to “tough out” their symptoms without ever seeking even minimal treatment.
Problems also arise when injured people won’t – or can’t – follow the recommendations of their treating physicians, due to time, money, or other reasons.
If you don’t have health insurance, try to find a medical provider who will treat you on a medical lien. Or, your attorney may be able to connect you to a medical provider who is willing to work on a lien and/or is familiar with your type of injuries.