Talking to Your Doctor: What You Say Can and Might Be Used Against You After an Auto Accident

I come from a family of doctors. I also consider a number of doctors to be personal friends. They don't like insurance companies any more than you do, but in order to assist you after a car accident, they must know about all your injuries and symptoms. What you tell your doctor matters.  The value of most personal injury cases in South Carolina is influenced far more by medical records than allegations made by an attorney. The last thing we want is for a truly injured person's words to be used against them at a deposition or trial simply because they were unsure of how to effectively communicate with their doctor. I therefore provide auto accident clients with the following information as it relates to conversations with medical providers:

When talking with doctors or other care providers remember that everything you say could be documented in the record. The exam begins the moment you walk into the office. This means that if a doctor or nurse walks through the exam room door and asks “How are you doing?” and you say “Fine,” their records may read “Patient states he is doing fine.” This happens every day, even though you might go on to inform the doctor that you are in tremendous pain.

When insurance companies uncover a medical record that contains such a statement it greatly damages the value of your case. You must be honest with your doctors and nurses. Never exaggerate your injuries or pain levels, but do inform the care provider of exactly what is troubling you. A good tip is to take a few minutes while in the waiting room to think back to all the troubles or pain you have experienced since your last visit. These are the things you should share with your care providers – nothing more and nothing less."

Innocent people who have harmed in car wrecks must understand the importance of their interactions with health care professionals. While the patient-doctor relationship is confidential, medical records can be obtained through subpoena or an authorized request. It is therefore critical that you tell the doctor about every source of pain, the injuries' effect on your daily activities, and any other troubles related to the accident. The more honest you are with your care provider, the less chance the insurance company will be able to use your words against you.

I help injured people across South Carolina every day, and am glad to provide you with free copies of my books as well as a free consultation if you have any additional questions. There is no need to take on insurance adjusters and the legal system by yourself. Allow me to focus on your accident case while you focus on getting well. To learn more, call my Columbia, SC office today at 803-790-2800.

Kenneth Berger
Columbia South Carolina attorney dedicated to securing justice by helping the truly injured