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Five Rules for Dealing with Doctors After a Car Accident

Rule #1: Don't Delay in Seeking Medical Treatment

It may seem obvious, but it's best to go to a doctor right away to get checked out, even if you don't feel that you've been injured. The insurance companies will look at the time from the accident to when you sought treatment.

Rule #2: Your Doctor Is Not Your Lawyer

Many doctors -- like orthopedists, physical therapists and neurologist who see a lot of people in accidents -- may want to give you legal help. They may steer you to a lawyer and tell you how to deal with the insurance company. The last thing you want is advice that is not in your best interests concerning the insurance company. Insurance companies will track if the doctor sends all of his patients to a particular lawyer, and use this information against you.

Rule #3: Factor in Your Injury with Your Ability to Work

If you are injured, you will miss time from work. If your doctor gives you an off-work slip, it's important that your doctor actually know what you do for a living -- whether it's heavy manual labor or office work.

Rule #4: Keep Up With Your Treatment and Appointments

Many people stop going for treatments when they start to feel better. If you don't get better and the pain or disability lingers, and you were told to go for four weeks of treatment and you only went for one week, the insurance company will use this against you, and say your pain your fault.

Rule #5: Keep Good Medical Records

If you're dealing with an insurance company, it will have you sign a medical release and get your records. You should get those records first and look at them. There have been cases where the doctor mixed up patient A with patient B. At least know what's in there so that you can correct it if need be, before it goes to the insurance company.

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