Doctor Warns Don't Settle Your Claim Without Talking To An Attorney!
Dr. Chris Connelly
Welcome to our show and a good morning to you!
Let’s jump right into a question from one of our viewers:
“Gary – thanks in advance for your help with this.
I think I may have screwed up.
I was hurt in a wreck in June when a teenage driver rear-ended me.
I went to the emergency room and then to my doctor for a couple of visits.
The insurance adjuster was very nice and helped me get a rental and my car repaired.
She essentially “sweet talked” me into a settlement assuring me that I should be fine.
So I settled my claim and signed a release. But now I’m still hurting. I still have pain in my neck and get bad headaches too.
Is there anything you can do to help me?
-Matthew in Cumming
Wow. Matthew: you did screw up.
When you settled your claim and signed that release of all claims – your case was done.
It’s over. There is nothing you can do to re-open it.
And this is a trick insurance companies use every day right here in Georgia. They will dangle that quick check in front of you in hopes you will take it. If you do take it, you are waiving the right to pursue any other claims.
So it is a BAD IDEA to settle your claim without talking with an attorney.
It’s also a BAD IDEA to even consider settling your claim until you have received the necessary treatment for your injuries.
I want to bring in a special guest to address this in more detail.
Joining me now is Dr. Chris Connelly. Dr. Connelly has been in practice for over 17 years in the Atlanta area and he specializes in the treatment of all types of injuries and chronic pain.
Dr. Connelly, I appreciate you being here with us today.
Chris: Great to be here, Gary.
Gary: Not only did Matthew make the mistake of settling his claim, so that now he cannot pursue any other claims against the insurance company.
But he also messed up by not making sure he had a full understanding of his injuries.
Gary: As a doctor, what is the best advice you can give to a person that has been involved in a wreck and they are hurting.
Chris: “A good diagnosis is the first step to a great treatment.”
Chris: The first step in treatment at my office is for me to do an examination and to obtain an anatomical diagnosis concerning the cause of your pain.
If the doctor doesn’t know what is wrong with the patient then the treatment plan is sort of a guessing game.
Gary: Dr. Connelly, we see this so often in our practice. A patient will go to a doctor for a period of time and the treatment they are receiving is not helping them get better. They are being the compliant patient – keeping all appointments, doing the physical therapy, the home exercise – but they still hurt. They will then go for a second opinion and the new doctor may order additional tests. The tests reveal they have a different injury than was originally diagnosed.
Chris: Which gets back to my philosophy – “A good diagnosis is the first step to a great treatment.”
As a doctor, I want to know that the treatment that I am giving to my patient is designed to treat the patient’s problems. And if the treatment they need is outside of my expertise, my job is to get them to the specialist that is trained to help treat their specific problem.
Gary: Let’s talk about chronic pain for a moment.
No one wants to hurt or being in pain because it can be so debilitating.
Chris: Gary, I treat people with pain every day.
Let me give you some stats:
* Pain effects more Americans than Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Cancer combined.
* The National Centers for Health Statistics tells us that pain effects more than
76.2 million people.
Gary: How can someone prevent chronic pain following an accident?
Chris: Let me give you a couple of stats about chronic pain, and then I’ll address how we treat it.
* A study published in June 2010 assessed whiplash injured patients 30 years after their injury – the longest study to date. 40% of patients retain nuisance symptoms and 15% have significant symptoms and impairments requiring ongoing treatment.
(Rooker, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British, 2010)
How do we treat chronic pain?
(1) Accurate diagnosis.
(2) Appropriate treatment plan based upon the diagnosis.
This could include chiropractic care, physiotherapy, disc decompression, exercise, injury avoidance, home care, massage services.
There also may be a need to refer the patient to a medical specialist or to a surgeon for more invasive treatment modalities.
Gary: Dr. Connelly, thank you so much for your time and your expert assistance with this topic.
Gary: Dr. Connelly, you are certainly an expert in your field. I respect you – and more importantly, insurance companies respect you and your patients love you!