Recently, I had to undergo knee surgery following an injury.
Through the course of my recovery, like anyone who has surgery, I have had to follow up with my physician many times and attend countless physical therapy appointments. Both my doctors and physical therapists have given me advice and exercises to perform at home to aid in my recovery. While it’s often difficult to find the time to get to appointments and perform exercises at home, I am following through and making these things a priority because I know it will lead to a better outcome.
Luckily, my injury was not caused by a wreck, a work injury, or a careless person, but rather simple bad luck and loose joints.
The primary reason that any injured person should follow through with treatment and therapy is that it can help you have a healthier and more productive life.
However, it is even more critical for anyone whose injury may warrant a lawsuit to follow the advice of their physicians and physical therapists as closely as they can. Not only will it help them heal faster, but the failure to do so may greatly damage their legal case.
In my time representing personal injury clients, I have reviewed thousands of pages of medical records. What some clients don’t realize is that, at some point in your litigation journey, your attorney will need to disclose those medical records to the opposing party or their insurance adjusters, either in the course of discovery for trial, or to achieve a settlement. Those adjusters or opposing attorneys will be reviewing those medical records just as carefully as your own attorney, but not because they are worried about you and concerned that you are getting the best possible medical treatment. Those reviews will be looking for any instances that will show the court that you did not comply with your physician’s or your physical therapist’s recommendations.
They will use this information against you.
If they find any noncompliance, the possibility that you will be able to get a settlement prior to a jury verdict will be greatly reduced. Even worse, if your suit does proceed to a jury trial, the attorney for the at-fault party will suggest that the reason your injury persisted as long as it did, or caused as much pain as it did, was not the wrongful conduct of the at-fault party, but rather was due to your own failure to follow your doctor’s reasonable directions. This will make it much more difficult to prove your case, and will considerably reduce the value of your verdict.
Performing your exercises and following your doctor’s orders may not always be pleasant, it may be downright painful at times, but it is critical that you do so. It will get you healthy in a shorter period of time and will also protect any claims you may have against a party that caused your injury. For more information on what to do if you've been injured at work, click here.