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What Mistakes Can an Accident Victim Make in Speaking with Doctors after a Car Crash?

October 3, 2022

After an auto accident where you’re seriously injured (or even if you think you might be), you need to seek medical treatment. Of course, if you are arriving at the ER or hospital directly from the scene, you will be agitated, emotional, and possibly upset. It may feel good to talk about the collision and what you think happened. Cathartic as that may be, you should take care to avoid some common mistakes that could damage your claim or case when speaking with your doctor.

Speculating on the Accident with Your Doctor

The discussions with your doctor and medical staff should only be about your injuries. If you’re asked, “What Happened?” focus on what you actually know, and don’t guess about the factors surrounding the accident.

For example, you don’t know that the other driver was speeding or that he failed to use his blinkers. Just tell them only what you know to be absolutely true and necessary for your medical care.

Delaying to Seek Treatment or Gaps in Your Treatment

It’s not uncommon for a personal injury patient to have gaps in medical care after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident. Waiting to see a doctor or skipping appointments to create large gaps in treatment doesn’t look good to the insurance claims adjuster, defense attorney, or the jury at trial.

Failing to Follow Through with Your Prescribed Treatment

A victim of a car accident may miss appointments or fail to attend all physical therapy. If the insurance company or the defense sees your medical records with missed appointments, it will damage your credibility, and your injuries, no matter how severe, won’t seem that bad the insurance claims adjuster, defense attorney, or the jury at trial. In addition to aiding your case, attending all appointments scheduled by the doctor also will help you get better more quickly.

Stopping Medical Treatment Before Being Released

Just like failing to follow through with appointments, failing to see the doctor after the accident is a big mistake. Just because you feel better and no longer need to continue treatment doesn’t mean you’re 100%.

Again, you may not be completely healed, and you’re damaging your attorney’s chances of getting you a settlement that’s commensurate with your injury. Moreover, your injury may worsen after you stop treatment, and you may be responsible for some of your medical expenses because you failed to follow through with your treatment.

Your doctor is the medical expert. Let him or her determine when you’ve reached seen maximum improvement and have fully recovered.

Failing to Disclose Previous Injuries or Chronic Issues

The intake form at every doctor’s office will ask you to list any previous injuries, surgeries, and medications. Be honest and don’t omit items that you think are unimportant. Your doctor needs to know everything for documentation of your personal injury. This means informing them about a previous injury that was healed but was reinjured in the accident.

The insurance company and the other driver’s attorney will look into your previous injuries. Failing to disclose these to your doctor will again damage your credibility. It will also create an issue for your personal injury attorney in demonstrating that your injury came from your current car accident.

Exaggerating Your Injuries

Don’t claim that your pain level is a 10 if it’s only a 4. Injuries such as compound fractures, spinal injuries, and concussions will be very clear on X-rays, MRI’s or CT-Scans. But not all soft tissue injuries can be seen. Be truthful about what you’re experiencing. It doesn’t help your personal injury case making your injury appear worse than it truly is.


Don’t make these common mistakes after an accident.

When you visit your doctor, clinician, or therapist, they will document your history and symptoms, their clinical findings, and a recommended treatment plan. This medical record can help link your medical condition to the crash and help your personal injury attorney determine your damages.

Contact us

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in an automobile or motorcycle accident in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We will help you pursue compensation against the driver who is responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.