Ch. 1: Visit Your Doctor – No Matter What Your Injury Is

Whether it’s a neck injury, soft tissue injury, or any other type of injury, see your doctor

If you are one of those persons who prefer to let time heal all wounds, whether a neck injury, soft tissue injury, or any other type of injury, on their own, then now is the time to change.  If you’ve been injured in a car crash (or at all for that matter) and you remotely suspect that you require emergency treatment, then go to the hospital.  After the hospital, visit your family doctor as soon as possible.

If you have a family doctor, make the earliest appointment possible.  If it’s the weekend, go to a walk-in clinic, and then visit your family doctor very shortly after that.  If you went to the hospital and/or walk-in clinic, tell your doctor.

If you don’t have a family doctor and can’t get a family doctor, go to your preferred walk-in clinic and then keep going to that clinic for all future doctor appointments.  In fact, try to see the same doctor in that same walk-in clinic each time after your crash.

There are four very important reasons to see your doctor after a car crash:

1.    To find out what your injuries are and what can be done about them (i.e. treatment).

2.    To find out what you should and should not do (i.e. not go to work, activity restrictions, limitations around your home, etc.).

3.    If you’re applying for payment of lost wages and/or treatment coverage, then your doctor will most likely have to fill out forms see.

4.    To get your injuries and recovery process documented.

What to tell your doctor?

You should tell your doctor the following:

1.    When and how your car crash happened.

2.    Describe every injury – include your neck and soft tissue injuries.  Start from the top of your head and move down to your feet.  Tell your doctor how often each part hurts and how long each painful episode lasts.  It is helpful for you to describe your pain in as much detail as possible.  Some descriptors are:

a.    radiating pain;
b.    needle like pain;
c.    sharp pain;
d.    dull, ongoing pain;
e.    numbness;
f.    shooting pain;
g.    tingling; and/or
h.    burning sensation.

If certain activities such as sitting or walking or bending or twisting cause you pain, say so.  Don’t exaggerate your pain, but don’t minimize it either.

If you were working at the time of your injury, tell your doctor the nature of your job and then ask whether you should return to work.  In some instances, your doctor may prescribe light or modified work duties.  No matter what your doctor says, ask her or him for a note so you can present a copy to your employer.  Be sure to keep an original of all doctors’ notes for your file.

As you can see from above, you have a lot to discuss with your doctor.  Also, your doctor will need to do an examination.  Therefore, when you make your first appointment after your car crash with your doctor, let the office know your visit is about your injuries from a car crash and ask for an extended visit.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations

One of the most important reasons for visiting your doctor is that he or she will likely recommend a course of treatment for your injuries – whether fractures, a neck injury, soft tissue injury, or any other type of injury.  Your doctor may prescribe any number of options for you to get better.  It may be medication, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, a referral to a specialist, a CT scan, and so on.  It is imperative that you follow your doctor’s recommendations.  Why?

When injured, you must make reasonable efforts to heal your injuries.  If you don’t do what your doctor recommends, ICBC will likely argue that you failed to take steps to get better and therefore you shouldn’t be compensated for your harms and losses.

Can’t Work?

If you can’t work, your claim for lost wages is much stronger when a doctor recommends that you take time off work.  Also, if you are applying for lost wage benefits right away, then your doctor can fill out any forms needed for your application.

Your family doctor is a very important step in your recovery and for your claim.  Do not delay in visiting your doctor and following his or her recommendations.

Doctor’s documentation

When you visit your doctor, he or she will make notes about what was discussed and the medical findings.  These notes, over a series of visits, document your injuries and recovery process.  These notes will be the basis from which your doctor will write medical reports.  Your doctor’s medical reports are necessary to prove your harms and losses.  The better set of notes your doctor has, the more detailed report he or she can write.

Also, your doctor’s notes may be useful for other medical specialists in the event you visit other doctors.  If your neck injury, soft tissue injury, fracture, back injury, or any other type of injury doesn’t heal, then you may require specialized assistance.