Why It’s Important to Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions Following an Accident

Doctor with a patient

Unexpected accidents and injuries can upend your life in an instant, but the road to recovery – both physically and financially – can take time.

At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we’ve been serving injured victims across New York City since 1980, and have walked hand-in-hand with clients through all aspects of their physical recoveries, and their legal journeys. As personal injury lawyers and people who care about the well-being of our clients, we want to stress that following your doctor’s orders can be just as important as seeking immediate medical attention in the immediate aftermath of a crash – both to your health, and your case.

7 Reasons To Follow Up & Follow Medical Advice

  1. Qualified Experts: Doctors are highly educated, specially-trained professionals who serve critical jobs treating injured and sick patients. Though second and third opinions are fine (and often advised by many), you should never take medical advice or instructions from anyone other than a licensed physician – or from yourself. These medical experts have the comprehensive knowledge to understand what’s best for treating your injuries in relation to the other unique circumstances and individual medical histories that apply.
  2. Avoid Complications: Doctors give you instructions for a reason, whether it’s to improve mobility in an injured limb so as not to lose function, wash surgical wounds or dressings to avoid infections, or avoid certain foods or drugs while taking medications. These instructions can be critical to avoiding complications that could have big (and costly) consequences. They may also help ensure that seemingly minor injuries don’t become more serious problems. For example, for those with a possible brain injury, even initially “minor” head trauma can pose fatal and long term risks if it isn’t medically addressed.
  3. Allow for Adjustments: By following your doctor’s instructions and reporting back during follow ups, you can provide your doctor with insight into what is and is not working. Based on your feedback, doctors can tailor your treatment plans, adjust medications, or explore other options and treatment alternatives. In some cases, reporting adverse reactions or difficulties with certain instructions may alert doctors to other or larger problems associated with your injuries or overall health.
  4. Improve Long-term Outcomes & Function: Following your doctors’ instructions, including any instructions provided by rehabilitation experts, can be immensely important to improving long-term outcomes. Although every injury and situation is different, patients who fail to follow proven recommendations post-injury may not experience the same recovery as those who did. This can include improvements in function. For example, “training” your brain and being consistent with rehabilitation in the early months following a brain injury has been shown to improve cognitive function and outcomes in patients. The same holds true for various orthopedic injuries and other ailments where heeding the advice of a doctors puts patients on a path to best recovery. If you stop following medical advice, you can put yourself at risk of suffering related problems down the road – problems that therefore may not be accounted for in any award or settlement for if your injury claim has already been resolved.
  5. Documenting Records: Documentation, doctor’s notes, and medical records are a byproduct of following your doctor’s instructions and following up with visits. These capture information about your health, recovery, treatment plan, and any recurrent or new problems that may arise. These documents provide an important picture of the consequences of your accident, are much more reliable and verifiable than a person’s word, and can be used to support an injury claim should one be filed.
  6. Fight Insurance Company Tactics: Listening to your doctor and staying consistent with your treatment, rehabilitation, and follow-up visits is the most effective way to recover from the injuries you suffered (or recover as much as possible). It’s also helps eliminate or mitigate many of the common arguments insurance carriers will raise in their attempts to pay victims as little as possible. When victims don’t seek immediate treatment or continually follow up following an accident, insurance companies will often argue they were never really injured, that their injuries were not very bad, or that their injuries were not caused by the accident.

Our legal team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is comprised of award-winning and nationally recognized trial lawyers who collaborate with nurses, doctors, and medical experts regularly. Though we understand the nature of injuries, we are not physicians, and always encourage victims to seek treatment as soon after an accident as possible, and to follow up and heed their doctors’ advice.

If you have legal questions about a recent accident, your rights, and how our firm can guide you through the personal injury process, please call or contact us online. We offer free and confidential consultations.

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For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.