Making Legal Information Accessible

« Back to Home

Don't Ignore Your Emergency Room Referrals: It Could Hurt Your Personal Injury Case

Posted on

If you're injured in an auto accident, you should seek medical attention at a hospital as soon as possible. But after your initial exams and treatments, you may choose to ignore the referrals written by the emergency room doctors for future medical care. That could be a bad mistake.

Once you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, they'll want to see your medical records. Every bit of medical documentation you obtain throughout your case helps your personal injury attorney win your settlement. Here are things to know about medical referrals and why your attorney doesn't want you to ignore them.

Why Do Emergency Room Doctors Write Medical Referrals?

When one physician needs another physician to run tests, provide treatments or diagnose unexplained medical injuries, they write referrals. Your initial medical examinations and diagnostic tests tell the hospital's doctors whether or not you need additional medical care for your accident injuries. 

If your injuries are severe enough to require follow-up visits with other specialists, your emergency doctors will give you the appropriate medical referrals. However, if you don't follow up with the specialists, you may not get a chance to do so later. Although most referrals are good for at least one year, some have shorter expiration dates. 

Your personal attorney will need you to follow up with the referrals right away. If you don't do so, you can hurt your chances of receiving a higher settlement offer.

Can Your Lack of Medical Evidence Reduce Your Settlement Offer?

Your personal injury attorney relies on the strength of your medical documentation to win a larger settlement for you. The diagnostic tests and pain medications you received from the emergency room aren't enough to strengthen your case. You need more in-depth diagnostic testing completed to show the severity of your injuries.

For example, your referral doctors may take:

  • CT scans of your head and neck
  • Ultrasound scans of your pelvis, spine and hips
  • Urinalysis tests that show internal bleeding

The diagnostic tools mentioned above can reveal hidden injuries that have the potential to create lifelong problems with your health. The at-fault driver's insurance company can offer a smaller settlement if it doesn't consider your injuries severe enough. Your personal injury attorney may prove the insurance company wrong if they have the right medical evidence available. 

Now that you know why it's important to follow up with your emergency room referrals, you can move forward with your case. If you have questions about your case, contact your lawyer immediately. To find out more, contact someone like Herbert E. Maxey Jr., PC.