Medical Treatment Lawyer for Car Accident Cases
If it is your first experience with a car accident in NC you might have a number of questions regarding medical care. One of the most common questions our Charlotte car accident lawyers deal with involves medical treatment after an initial visit to the emergency room. A recurrent question posed to our Charlotte personal injury attorneys deals with the interplay between their medical treatment and the at fault or negligent person’s car “liability” insurance.
Do I have to get permission from the other person’s car insurance before I see a doctor?
No. In fact, if, after being involved in a NC car accident the insurance adjuster tells you that you are not allowed to treat with a doctor they have violated North Carolina’s General Statutes. Under NC law individuals injured by the negligence of another are not limited in scope or scale regarding their medical treatment. Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys view your case as a team effort. We ask our clients to take whatever steps are necessary to take care of themselves medically and we will take care of them legally.
Can I see a doctor even though I don’t have health insurance?
Yes. There are ways to see a doctor after a Charlotte personal injury without money upfront or health insurance. For example, Charlotte hospital emergency rooms are required under federal and state law to treat individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Further, because of our reputation, history and commitment to the well being of our clients many doctors including general practitioners, orthopedics and chiropractors in and around Charlotte will see our personal injury clients when we refer them even without health insurance.
Independent Medical Exam
One of the tools used by our personal injury lawyers is the Independent Medical Exam, “IME”. The IME can be used by both the Plaintiff and the Defendant to argue about the extent of the injuries sustained by the Plaintiff. In the typical IME the Plaintiff’s medical records are reviewed by a non-treating doctor who in many cases also sees the Plaintiff and conducts a physical exam. The doctor will compile a report and present opinions based on the records and exam. The opinion can be useful to bolster the opinion of the Plaintiff’s treating physician or when there are multiple treating physicians the IME doctor can be used to summarize and speak for all the doctors.
One typical IME is used when a client is involved in a very bad car accident. For example, a client involved in a car accident in Charlotte was seen by two different orthopedic doctors. Both doctors had conflicting views on whether the long term injuries the Plaintiff complained about were caused by the car accident. An IME was conducted by another orthopedic doctor who opined that the car accident was the cause of the Plaintiff’s long term condition. With the law in NC changing in 2011, making personal injury cases more difficult, the role of the IME becomes even more important to substantiate the Plaintiff’s injuries.
There are instances where the defense will request the Plaintiff submit to an IME. Depending on a number of factors including the Defense doctor, this should be avoided. While there are instances when this can’t be avoided, there are a number of ways to diminish the value of the IME opinion. For example, it is relatively simple to determine the number of IME’s the defense doctor has performed for the insurance carrier. Further, the Plaintiff’s personal injury attorney needs to look into the how many times the IME doctor has served as a witness for Plaintiffs. There are a number instances where we have found similar clinical findings by the doctor, for different patients, but their opinion was conflicting. This can be very difficult for the defense doctor to explain. Certainly, if the defense IME doctor’s opinion is helpful for your case there is no reason to hide it.
The IME does have its limitations. The obvious of which is that the doctor is not a treating physician. In many instances he or she can be seen as a hired gun. The only way to limit this argument is to work with credible doctors. Our personal injury lawyers only work with IME doctors of the highest caliber. These doctors are currently practicing as treating physicians, which limits the “hired gun” argument.
The IME is one tool among many available to you to help your case. To discuss the role of an IME or to discuss your case call (704) 714-1450 to make an appointment to speak with a personal injury attorney, or stop by the office during regular business hours. We will schedule an appointment that meets your needs. There is no fee for the initial consultation. Whether you call, come in the office or request a home visit you will speak directly with a personal injury lawyer who can answer your questions.
NC Personal Injury and Health Insurance
After an individual gets into a car accident in NC they typically have numerous questions about what to do next. If the car accident occurred in Charlotte, NC people might wonder if they should go to Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) or Presbyterian Hospital or whether they should follow up with their own doctor. A recurrent question posed to our Charlotte personal injury attorneys deals with the interplay between their personal health insurance and the car “liability” insurance.
After Being in a Car Accident in NC should I use my health insurance?
After being injured in a NC car accident most people’s foremost concern is getting the best medical care available. Hospital emergency rooms including Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), Presbyterian, Union Regional Medical Center, North East Medical Center, and Gaston Memorial are required under federal and state law to treat individuals regardless of their ability to pay. Under most circumstances health insurance (or payment upfront) is necessary to see private physicians including general practitioners, orthopedics and neurosurgeons. This holds true even if the NC car accident wasn’t your fault (NC differs from many states that have PIP or no fault coverage). However, any payments made to the health care provider by an individual’s health insurance would come under the purview of North Carolina’s collateral source rule, which benefits the injured party.
There are two important points to keep in mind when using your health insurance. First, the individual needs to keep in mind that their specific health insurance policy may subrogate and thus they should read their policy or have a Charlotte personal injury lawyer of Rosensteel Fleishman review it.
Subrogation in essence allows your health insurance to get paid back from any monies received by the at fault parties liability insurance. The second issue is that insurance companies are able to reduce the amount of money they have to pay by the adjusted values of your health insurance. For example, if the medical provider reduced the bill via an adjustment after the insurance pays, the liability insurance is entitled to the same adjustment. As such, while it is always the individual’s decision our Charlotte personal injury attorneys counsel our clients to use their health insurance after being involved in a NC auto accident.
Speak to a Charlotte, NC Car Accident Injury Lawyer Today
Call (704) 714-1450 to make an appointment to speak with a personal injury attorney in Charlotte, or stop by the office during regular business hours. We understand that the last thing you need to do at this time is miss a doctor’s appointment or more time from work. We will schedule an appointment that meets your needs.