I am often asked from a legal medical perspective what is the first thing a client should do following an accident. The answer is fairly simple: Follow your doctor’s advice and concentrate on your recovery. Although straight forward, this advice is sometimes difficult to follow.
From a legal perspective, many jurors understand that clients often do not know where to turn for medical attention following an accident. They do not have regular medical doctors or any knowledge of the medical system in their community. Clients often look to their lawyers to assist them in sorting through the maze of medical options. Experienced lawyers have dealt with doctors for years and are aware of the doctors who are most seasoned in treating and healing accident victims. On the other hand, there are clients who have a full understanding of their medical options and are well served by pursuing those options without the advice of their lawyer. Although I disagree with the rationale, some jurors believe that a lawyer who assists a client with finding a doctor somehow has developed a “lawsuit mill,” and there may be those lawyers out there, but Abraham Watkins and its 65 years of existence, has never done this.
The second big hurdle for our clients is trying to navigate instructions while trying to get their life back to normal. It is very important to do everything your doctor tells you to do. This not only includes activities in your life, but it also includes obtaining the medical treatment the doctor orders, attending follow-up appointments and therapy visits, and following up with other medical specialists recommended by your treating doctor. While there are occasions where a doctor’s appointment must be missed, the term “no show” is often used by cagey defense lawyers to indicate the client must not be injured. The effort needed to explain the “no show” because of a more pressing event is often not worth the explanation.
Finally, it is important to follow your doctor’s orders to recover as quickly as possible. Jurors appreciate those clients who put forth their very best effort to recover, and a “small” case with a full recovery is almost always better than a “big” case with less than adequate recovery. So follow your doctor’s orders, focus on your recovery and let your legal issues take care of themselves.