Family Doctors and the Role They Have in a Personal Injury Claim

In this fast-paced day and age, where many traditional business and service models are changing, it is not uncommon for people to be without a family doctor or regular doctor who they see on a consistent basis.

As personal injury lawyers, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of a family doctor, or seeing the same physician on a consistent basis, to a personal injury claim. This blog post outlines the important role that a family doctor has in a personal injury claim.

Please note: The information provided on this website does not constitute medical or legal advice and should not be construed as such. The lawyers and staff and Moustarah & Company are not trained medical professionals and do not hold themselves out to be such. If you are suffering from an injury, please contact your doctor or medical care provider. 

The role of the family doctor

A doctor plays an important role in a personal injury claim by doing such things as:

  • charting and making note of a person’s injuries after an accident;
  • investigating and diagnosing injuries and conditions after an accident;
  • prescribing medications and treatments, as appropriate, to treat injuries arising from the accident;
  • ordering tests and other diagnostic procedures, as appropriate, to assist in the discovery, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries arising from an accident;
  • providing appropriate treatment recommendations to aid in a person’s recovery from their injuries;
  • providing appropriate referrals to specialist or other medical service providers to aid in a person’s recovery from their injuries;
  • assisting a person in navigating the health care system more broadly;
  • keeping a record of the person’s pre-accident and post-accident health and overall physical and mental condition and medical history;
  • testifying in court about a person’s medical condition and injuries, if the matter goes to trial;
  • and potentially more.

At the same time, the doctor’s notes will act as an important source of evidence when a lawyer goes to prove their client’s injuries during the settlement or trial process.

Why it is important to speak with a family doctor on a regular basis

As we have detailed before, when someone has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, their injuries and their recovery will direct how their claim proceeds. Because a doctor plays such an important role in:

  • recording injuries,
  • charting injuries,
  • diagnosing injuries,
  • providing and prescribing treatment and medication, and
  • recommending other avenues to assist in a person’s recovery,

it is very important to regularly speak with the same doctor or clinic about a personal injury on a regular basis so that they can provide an accurate picture of a person’s medical history, pre-accident health, post-accident health, the nature and duration of accident injuries, and the effect that the accident has had.

When speaking with a family doctor about a personal injury, it is important to be open and honest. A doctor cannot properly treat an injury that they do not know about. Injured people should feel empowered to:

  • tell their doctor about all of the symptoms, differences, or injuries that they are noticing or experiencing, even if they seem minor;
  • tell their doctor about the effect that the symptoms, differences, or injuries that they are noticing or experiencing are having on their life, even if they seem minor;
  • seek and follow their doctor’s advise on how to treat and recover from their injuries;
  • ask questions and seek their doctor’s advise about their symptoms and injuries;
  • ask questions and seek their doctor’s advise about their treatment plan;
  • ask questions and seek their doctor’s advise about referrals; and
  • follow up with their doctor regularly throughout the recovery process.

What if someone does not have a family doctor

There are many resources out there to help a person find a family doctor. Some resources include:

  • The Alberta Primary Care Network website
    • their “find a doctor” option can help to locate doctors within a given primary care network who are accepting new patients
    • the search can be refined to find doctors who speak particular languages, are of certain genders, have certain areas of specialty, or are located in a given geographic location

      The Alberta Health Link website and phone line

      • Albertans can dial 811 to call Alberta Health Link 24 hours/day

      To learn more about what to look for in a family doctor, check out

      this post from MyHealth.Alberta.ca Continue Reading

Who Are the Different People Involved in a Car Accident Claim?

An Example: Car Accident

Imagine a standard car accident claim. You are injured in an accident caused by another driver. Below, is a simplified image depicting a straightforward rear-ending collision, as an example.

Seems simple enough, right? However, there are many people  involved in even the most straight-forward car accident claim. For example:

A car accident can be overwhelming on its own, particularly if someone has been injured or hurt. The various parties involved can add to this sense of confusion. Time after time we hear from people who are overwhelmed and confused by the sheer number of different adjusters and other individuals involved in a claim.

Who is this “PD” adjuster? Why is this person called a “BI” adjuster calling? How are they different from the other person whose title is “AB” adjuster? Who do I talk to about getting more physio treatments approved?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The whole scenario can be much more confusing when both drivers involved in the collision have policies of insurance with the same insurance company, or if one party does not have insurance, or if there are injured passengers.

That is why we have drafted this blog – to help you sort through the complex web of people shown above. Below, we break down the different parties and adjusters involved in a collision and explain what each one’s role is.

Your insurance company

Let’s start off with your insurance company.

After you’ve been in an accident, you will want to report the collision to your insurance company right away, as there are time limits that can affect your ability to open a car accident claim and access coverage. Learn more about what you need to remember to do right after a collision here.

Before we dive into the different adjusters that your insurance company will assign to your file, let’s begin by clarifying who “your insurance company” is, because it is not always straightforward.

If you are both the owner of the vehicle and the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident, then who “your insurance company” is should be straightforward: it is the company that you have purchased a policy of insurance from. If you are the driver of someone else’s vehicle, then (in most cases) “your insurance company” would be the company that the owner of the vehicle purchased insurance from. If you are the passenger in a vehicle, “your insurance company” would (in most cases) be the company that the owner of the vehicle purchased insurance from.

Please note that the above are simplified examples. There may be other factors that complicate whose insurance will cover you and be considered as “your insurance company” for the purposes of your car accident claim.

To learn more about your insurance policy’s Section B coverage, read our past blog post here.

Your adjusters

When you call your insurance company to report an accident, they will most likely open a claim. Depending on what you report to them and the coverage that you have under your insurance policy, your claim may have up to 2 adjusters assigned to it: a Property Damage (or “PD adjuster”) and/or an Accident Benefits (or “AB adjuster”). Each of these adjusters serves a different role, which we outline briefly below. 

Throughout the lifetime of your file, you will be in contact with the adjuster(s) from your insurance company, as they approve repairs to your vehicle, and treatments, disability payments, and other coverage, as applicable, to help you recover from your injuries.

PD Adjuster:

  • deals with the property damage aspect of the claim (damage to your car, etc)
  • may not be applicable if you or the owner of the vehicle have not purchased “fully comprehensive coverage” or Section C coverage as part of the insurance policy

AB Adjuster:

deals with damage to your person including

physical and psychological injuries, and approves coverage for treatments, prescription medication, ambulance bills, disability benefits etc Continue Reading

5 Things You Need to Remember Right After You’ve Been in a Collision

A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. You can go from waiting at a stop light one second to a collision the next. You can go from driving down the road to bracing for impact in an instant. Even a minor accident can feel overwhelming. You may never have been in an accident and may not have any idea what to do next. You may have been in an accident before, but in the moment, you might forget what to do. Here are 5 things that you need to remember right after you’ve been in a collision:

5 Things You Need to Remember Right After You’ve Been in a Collision Continue Reading

Chronic Pain, Chronic Pain Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia

As personal injury lawyers, we see a number of people who suffer from chronic pain, chronic pain syndromes, and fibromyalgia. These conditions often have a significant impact on injured peoples’ quality of life. Yet, they remain some of the most misunderstood and difficult-to-prove injuries before the courts and around the negotiation table. This blog post aims to provide a quick overview of the conditions.  A future blog post will review some of the difficulties that lawyers and injured people face in personal injury cases when trying to prove that they are suffering from these conditions.

 

Please note: The information provided on this website does not constitute medical or legal advice and should not be construed as such. The lawyers and staff at Moustarah & Company are not trained medical professionals and do not hold themselves out to be such. If you are suffering from an injury, whether chronic pain or otherwise, please contact your doctor or medical care provider.

What is chronic pain?

Pain that lasts and interferes with a person’s quality and enjoyment of life over time can be considered chronic pain.

Experts vary on how long the pain has to last before it is considered chronic. The most common durations used to define whether pain is of a chronic nature are 3 or 6 months (as set out by Turk and Okifuji in “Pain terms and taxonomies”, in Bonica’s Management of Pain (3rd ed.), pages 18–25). Others classify chronic pain differently and apply different time frames to distinguish between acute and chronic pain. Depending on the expert or taxonomy, pain that lasts for more than a certain number of months can be considered chronic.

Chronic pain can come in many different forms. A person may suffer from chronic back pain, chronic jaw pain, chronic neck pain, and so on. Almost any type of pain has the potential to become chronic in nature.

People may develop chronic pain as a result of a number of injuries or conditions. Persons suffering from long-term pain can speak with their doctor about their symptoms.

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Some people who suffer from chronic pain can develop Chronic Pain Syndrome (“CPS”) or other similar pain syndromes or disorders. Often, CPS is characterized as going beyond symptoms of physical pain alone, and may include depression, anxiety, or other psychological symptoms or elements.

Persons suffering from pain or other symptoms can speak with their doctor about their symptoms.

What is fibromyalgia?

It may be helpful to think of fibromyalgia as a specific subset of the general category of chronic pain. According to the Arthritis Society of Canada, fibromyalgia is a

nervous system condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body Continue Reading

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween can be an enjoyable event. Unfortunately, it can also be an event that is full of potential hazards. Consider the various ways in which you can reduce risks and improve safety this Halloween.

Have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone here at Moustarah & Company.

 

The information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. Moustarah & Company does not guarantee that this information is accurate or up to date. As a result, should you require legal advice, please contact a lawyer.