The Truth About Dealing with a Doctor After Being Injured Overseas
No two injuries are the same and neither are the people who experience them. After you are injured overseas, you may feel well enough to attempt climbing a flight of stairs or on the reverse side of things you may be unable to get out of bed. No matter how you are feeling, it is important to discuss your injury and what you can and cannot do with your doctor.
But be careful. One false statement, one exaggeration, one lie about a symptom can lose you your case. So, when you step into a doctor’s office know you’re stepping on egg shells.
DBA Tips for Talking To Your Doctor
You’re probably thinking that talking about your DBA injury to your doctor is pretty simple, right? You just got be honest, they’re your doctor they’re not going to screw your over.
But your medical records and your physician’s evaluation will both be used to evaluate your DBA claim. And because of this you must be careful when discussing your symptoms with your doctor. You don’t want to say the wrong thing and then fudge your case.
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when talking to your doctor about your injury covered by the Defense Base Act:
Never exaggerate your symptoms or lie to the doctor. If your doctor catches you in a lie, he’ll tell it to the judge, the DBA insurance company and their lawyers. And you will lose your case. It happens all the time. So save yourself some trouble and just tell the truth with everything and everyone involved with your DBA case.
Your doctor will want to know how your condition has changed since the last visit. Instead of saying that your injury is better or worse, give specific examples of things that have happened which affected your injury and abilities. For example, if your knee gave way while climbing stairs, or your back hurt for days after driving, or you attempted to lift something but couldn’t manage it, mention these instances.
Discuss new activities.
If you think you can or want to do more physically, you should always discuss it with your doctor before you do what you want. This is because if the DBA insurance companies catch you doing something you “can’t” do or aren’t supposed to do they’ll use it against you. Also, injuries are fickle. You may feel fine, try to do something and make it worse. That’s not what you want.
I said be careful. So, here are a few mistakes to avoid at your next doctor’s appointment:
DO NOT stick to one problem.
Many patients make the mistake of discussing only what hurts the most, rather than detailing all of their symptoms. Not only does your doctor need to know all of your symptoms to give you the best treatment, but failing to list all of your medical problems can hurt your claim later.
DO NOT downplay your symptoms.
Doctor’s appointments can be embarrassing and frightening, so you may be tempted to hide your suffering in order to get out of there faster. But your doctor can only put down in your medical records what you tell him. Stick to the facts, and be as accurate as possible.
DO NOT push yourself.
Look I know you want to get better faster and get back to the way things were before your injury. But that doesn’t mean that you should try some new activities as soon as you get out of the doctor’s office. You’ll probably hurt yourself more and if that’s not enough to convince you to not do it, then know that the DBA insurance company is watching your every move.
Like I said earlier if they see you doing something you shouldn’t be doing it they’ll use it against you. And you will be knocked down a step lower than you were before. So if you want to do something new ask your doctor about it first.
DBA Insurance Company and Your Doctor
If the DBA insurance doctor recommends you a doctor, do not go with that doctor. When it comes times to make a determination about your injuries, a doctor working for the DBA insurance company might find some tricky ways to bend the truth by saying:
- Your injuries weren’t caused by your employment or existed before your employment.
- You aren’t actually injured or are “faking it” in hopes of getting undue compensation.
- Your injuries exist, but they aren’t as bad as you claim and don’t prevent you from returning to work.
If you didn’t choose your own doctor or if your regular doctor and the insurance company’s doctor disagree about the cause or extent of your injury, your case is about to become a lot more complicated.
You Have the Right to See a Doctor of Your Choosing
As you work through the steps required to get your Defense Base Act (DBA) benefits for an overseas injury, you may find yourself dealing with one of the doctors working for, or that was recommended, by the insurance company handling your claim. Keep in mind that you have the right to see a doctor of your choosing. You don’t want the doctor the insurance company recommends, they may screw you over.
The problem is that insurance companies are likely to recommend you see doctors that they know will put the company’s priorities first. This might mean declaring you to be at “Maximum Medical Improvement” too early or saying that you can return to work without taking into account the real demands of your job.
All of this is why you need to be careful about who you choose to be your doctor and how you talk to your doctor. I, again, stress that you always tell the truth and are completely honest with your doctor from day one.
Find out more about medical treatment and the Defense Base Act with these resources:
Can you get lifetime medical treatment for your injury? Find out here.
Have a back injury? Learn how to handle your back injury claim here.
Disclaimer: Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.