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lllinois Personal Injury, Worker's Comp News

Effectively Communicating with Doctors

Help maximize your claim by thoroughly discussing your health with your medical team.

In "Help Us Maximize Your Claim," we discussed record keeping as a vital component in helping us move your claim faster and recovering the maximum financial compensation that your injury deserves.

This article addresses the importance of clearly and thoroughly communicating with your doctor and other health care providers following any work-related or personal injury.

Be Consistent, Detailed & Accurate

When filling out your medical paper work or speaking with your doctor, nurse, physical therapist, or other health care provider, communicate your symptom history—and not just the symptoms you are having that moment. You need to describe the symptoms you have been having since the accident occurred. For example, if a body part was tingling and cold at first, but is now numb, or feels different since your accident, make sure to say so in paper work you complete at your doctor's and therapist's offices, and when you speak with the office staff. Don't assume that the staff, the doctors, and the therapists automatically share all the information you provide. Clearly describe your injury, your symptoms, and if the symptoms are changing over time with each care provider and their staffs at every medical appointment.

Different types of symptoms indicate different types of injuries. Be sure to specifically identify the type of pain you are experiencing. Be specific when you report pain. There is a difference between dull, achy pain and sharp pain with numbness and tingling. Your clear communication of symptoms, pain, and injuries assists your doctors in making a diagnosis and effectively treating your injury.

Even though it can become tedious listing your symptoms at every visit, your complaints should be consistent and thoroughly detailed for each different provider, even professionals in the same practice.

Make sure to document your symptoms in both the intake paper work and directly to the doctor or other health care professional. If you are seeing a doctor for a medical condition unrelated to your injury, you must also disclose your injury to that doctor.

Disclose Details about Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have had medical treatment to an area that suffers a new injury, it is extremely important to tell your doctors and health care providers about your previous symptoms and treatment. For instance, if you were treated for lower back problems before an accident and then suffered a new back injury from the accident, you must tell all of your doctors about your prior symptoms and treatments.

You have the right to seek compensation for a pre-existing medical condition if an accident worsened (aggravated) the medical condition, but a jury may reject your claim if you don't disclose prior injuries and treatments. You know your history better than anyone. Therefore, a jury will not believe that you "forgot" your prior injury or condition if you fail to disclose it to the doctors treating you after an accident.

Track Your Symptoms, Take a Friend & Take Notes

Sometimes both pain and prescribed pain medications can make it difficult to think clearly and communicate all the details of your injury and all of your medications. Your symptoms can also create confusion and minimize your ability to remember all of your doctors and health practitioners instructions.

We suggest writing down your symptoms and your medications on a piece of paper that you can take from appointment to appointment. Keep it safe with your other injury paperwork and bills in your Adler & Adler folder. As your symptoms change, add the symptoms, along with the date they first occurred, at the bottom of the list. Before each appointment, you should also jot down any questions or concerns you may have, from treatment plans to possible side effects of medications.

We also believe that taking along your spouse, partner, a relative, or trusted friend not only helps reduce anxiety associated with the visit, but also gives you a second set of trusted ears. He or she can prompt you if you forget details or forget to ask questions about concerns that you have voiced. We also suggest having your spouse or friend take some notes on caring for surgical incisions, on dietary restrictions and medications, next appointments, or any other details that you have to remember in order to continue to recover.

Keep Your Attorney Up to Date

Be sure to keep your attorney informed about your injury and recovery. E-mail or call (312) 443-1488 after each doctor's appointment. We need to know about any recommended surgeries or treatments. Let us know immediately if your condition changes.


Have You Been Injured? Yes, you CAN afford an attorney. Contact Adler & Adler, P.C. for a FREE, No-Obligation Initial Consultation. Call (312)443-1488

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