Extent and Intensity of Medical Treatment
In a personal injury case, medical documentation is the most important evidence of pain and suffering. High quality medical records will state the nature of your injuries, recommendations for specialist referrals, and the treatment provided to you by the doctor, amongst other important facts. Medical treatment for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident can vary from home exercises all the way to surgery and everything in between, such as physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, and manipulation under anesthesia. A good rule of thumb is that the more extensive and intense the treatment received, the higher the compensatory value of the injury being treated. The theory behind this rule of thumb is that serious medical treatment generally means that there has been a serious injury. Your lawyer should never require you to have a specific type of medical treatment, as that is between you and your doctor. However, your lawyer should tell you that if your doctor recommends an injection or recommends a surgery, the value of your case will generally increase if you follow that advice, and vice versa. If your doctor recommends an injection or recommends a surgery and you decide to not follow your doctor’s advice, the value of your case will not likely reach its full potential. Whether you have a particular medical procedure is your decision — but there are legal consequences to that decision of which you should be aware.