Certain alarm bells can trigger extra scrutiny of your injury claim, cause delays in processing the claim, and can also lower a settlement offer.
Items That May Set Off the Adjuster’s Alarm Bells
- The treating doctor promotes himself as an “injury victim’s” doctor, and is known to local adjusters for running a “plaintiff’s mill” that specializes in treating patients with insurance claims.
- The treating doctor and the claimant’s lawyer or law firm have a close professional relationship. Their names frequently appear together on claims files.
- The medical “reports” are really just standardized forms, with the patient’s name inserted along with a few other details, rather than customized reports for this particular patient and situation.
- The treatment seems excessive or inordinately expensive and complicated for a minor accident that caused little or no property damage.
- The treatment includes chiropractic care.
What Can You and Your Injury Lawyer Do?
None of these issues is insurmountable. You and your personal injury attorney must anticipate the potential for an alarm going off and be prepared to explain your situation to the insurer or, failing that, to a jury. Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Choose your own doctor, rather than relying on your attorney for a referral. If you do your homework, and choose a doctor with appropriate credentials and expertise in treating your injuries, this will eliminate many of the questions about the doctor’s motive in treating you and his or her connection to your lawyer. It also will lend credibility to the doctor’s diagnosis and treatment.
- Your lawyer can talk with your doctor about preparing individualized reports and not churning out “form” reports.
- If you are treating, or were treated by a chiropractor, you should also seek treatment from a board-certified medical doctor.