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Tell your doctor

Complaining: It’s Not All Bad

When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, visiting your doctor regularly to report your symptoms is essential to your recovery. This builds the medical evidence of your injuries, which is vital to a personal injury claim. Seeing the doctor to report your injuries as soon as possible after the accident is crucial, but it is also essential to return to provide status updates. This is especially true if the treatment protocol isn’t addressing your injuries, and you aren’t seeing improvements with time.

Following through with your doctor’s medical recommendations is also key. If your injuries aren’t improving over time, you may be hesitant to return, thinking that they cannot do anything for you or that there is nothing to report. However, this is incorrect. Seeing the doctor when things aren’t improving allows them to suggest alternative treatments, request imaging, or provide referrals to specialists.

Prompt intervention prevents your symptoms from escalating and shows that you are actively mitigating your injuries. Your doctor’s chart notes reflect their objective findings once they examine you, as well as what you subjectively report. Therefore, describing your symptoms and how your injuries affect you provides medical evidence of your ongoing suffering. Recovery takes time. Trusting the process and following up with your doctor ensures you reach maximum medical improvement and maximize compensation for your injuries.

Documenting your injuries begins with noting all your complaints to your doctor and treatment providers. This can be difficult for us as Canadians to accept, as ‘complaining’ has negative connotations and we are socialized to be polite and downplay what bothers us. However, this doesn’t serve your best interests after an accident. Your treatment providers document your complaints, so if they ask how you are doing, resist the urge to reply with an unqualified ‘great.’ Keep the focus on your injuries and why you are there. Instead, respond by telling them whatever injuries have been bothering you lately, and how your symptoms are progressing. Otherwise, your visit won’t truly reflect your pain and suffering.

Comprehensive complaints about your injuries are helpful. Communicating openly and describing your concerns to your medical professionals provides evidence for your personal injury claim, giving them the opportunity to tailor their treatment in response to your changing needs. Complaining is not the same as embellishing or exaggerating. Anything that is different after the accident, whether physically, psychologically, professionally, or personally, is worthy of note so long as it is legitimately impacting you. Do not minimize your injuries for fear of embarrassment, or at the expense of putting on a brave face to maintain a tough persona.

Even after you have recovered, see your doctor to report that your injuries have resolved or when they have subsided. The next time you see your doctor for another matter, feel free to give them an update on your accident injuries. This provides a clean slate for anything that might occur in the future. If you are in a second accident, a note in your doctor’s records that your injuries had resolved or were minimally bothersome at a certain date will go a long way towards any future claim. This helps avoid the argument that your injuries are due to the first accident. In the absence of clear medical evidence, even after a significant amount of time it can still be an uphill battle to prove that your prior injuries had resolved or were not a factor in any subsequent accidents.

Your recovery demands more than just immediate medical attention – it requires ongoing care and commitment. Reporting when your complaints have resolved is important to establish a baseline for the sake of any future injuries. Distinguishing between those which are brand new, aggravated, or reactivated also demonstrates the impact of each individual accident. This ensures you receive maximum compensation for your claim, as well as any future claim.