Why It Is Important To Accurately Report Injuries To A Medical Provider After A Car Wreck?

I get it.  After a car wreck, you may be shaken up and achy, but you just don’t have time to go to the doctor.  “I’ll just take some Motrin and rest.”  You have a full-time job, kids to pick up from school, and just not enough time to deal with your own injuries.  “Hopefully I’ll feel better after a few days.”  If this is you, I understand.  But just know that if you don’t take time to properly document your injuries soon after an accident, the insurance company probably won’t give you credit for them later, even if you are really hurt and things get worse later.   

Insurance companies don’t take your word for it.

If your injuries are not documented in black and white in a medical provider’s records, the insurance company will not consider them in the adjustment of your insurance claim.  It doesn’t matter if you have been dealing for months with persistent back pain.  As the insurance company sees it, if your injuries weren’t bad enough to cause you to seek medical treatment, they aren’t serious enough to compensate. 

When you go to the doctor’s office, urgent care, the chiropractor, or to the emergency room, you will have several opportunities to document your injuries.  First, you will likely be asked to fill out patient forms, including a review of your current symptoms.  It is important to accurately complete these forms and list ALL of your current symptoms. 

When you meet with the medical provider or their staff, it is also important to describe ALL of your injuries, even if some seem minor in comparison. 

When the insurance company reviews your medical records, they should evidence all of the injuries you are claiming were caused or aggravated by the wreck.  The medical records will corroborate your reported injuries and help prove your claims. 

Make sure to list everything bothering you.

It is human nature to downplay our own injuries.  It is also typical for us to leave out what we may think to be minor symptoms when other, more major problems are bothering us.  For instance, if you suffer a right shoulder dislocation, your focus will be on that and you may fail to mention that your left ankle is also swollen. 

In a personal injury case (like a car wreck), it is important to list ALL of your symptoms to a medical provider, even if they seem minor.  That’s because if minor symptoms get worse over time, the insurance company may not believe that they are related to the car wreck if those symptoms were not documented soon after the accident.  For instance, if you report low back pain for the first time six months after an accident, the insurance company will have a hard time relating it to the wreck since it wasn’t documented soon thereafter.  This is the case even if you had low back pain immediately after the wreck and either didn’t see a doctor or failed to report it. 

Take pictures of your injuries.

It is true that a picture can say a thousand words.  If you have visible injuries, such as bruises, bumps, scrapes, road rash, stiches, or other wounds, take as many pictures and videos of them as necessary.  Do this during your entire healing process so that you can have a record of your injuries.  In some cases requiring wound care, photos can be important to prove the amount of effort that went into cleaning and dealing with your injuries, and any permanent scarring you may have. 

Keep a diary.

We provide a diary to all of our clients so that they can document their injuries, treatment progress, doctor appointments, missed work, and general wellbeing during their recovery.  Keeping a diary is a good idea, as it is important to memorialize how you are feeling in the moment, rather than trying to remember those details months or even years later.

Have You Been In An Accident And Not Sure What To Do?

If you were shaken up because of an accident and not sure what to do contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.


Grady Flattmann
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Local Covington, Louisiana attorney focusing 100% on personal injury matters.