Over the years, our team of Houston personal injury lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, PLLC have handled many kinds of injury claims. It has been our experience that diagnosis, treatment, and documentation are the key ingredients in the recipe for what an individual will eventually receive as financial recovery.
Why is a diagnosis so important?
To see (a doctor) or not to see (a doctor). That is the question! Let’s think about it like an insurance company (which is usually who is actually paying most personal injury lawsuits and settlements). Their number one goal will always be to pay you as little as possible. Having a diagnosis that is documented is one way to show the adjusters at the insurance company and even the jurors that the accident or incident resulted in a physical manifestation of an illness, injury, or even death is great evidence. It is one thing to say you had injuries and no evidence of them, and quite another to have evidence by way of a diagnosis, that an injury 1) exists; and, 2) resulted from the accident or incident.
Caused by the accident!
The first part of the equation is having evidence of the injury. The second aspect is what lawyers refer to as “causation.” That is, one must show that the illness, injury or death resulted from the accident or incident that is at issue in the lawsuit. Let’s look at this by way of a hypothetical situation:
Example 1: Victim was in a vehicle accident in which a pickup truck traveling 40 miles an hour failed to stop at an intersection and Victim’s vehicle was hit from behind. Victim has been in a lot of pain since the accident. Victim’s diagnosis is a herniated cervical disc.
If Victim had played football in high school and college and in a 10 year old medical chart, there was a doctor’s note about a suspected cervical disc herniation – would that make it more difficult or less difficult to show that his injury was caused by the accident? If Victim was a gymnast who just a week ago competed in a competition and did not have any history of neck pain or complaints, would that make it more or less difficult to show that the injury was caused by the accident?
As one can see, having a diagnosis is important as is being able to show that the illness, injury or death happened as a result of the accident or incident – and not because of something else.
Timing is important
The other key aspect is timing. Receiving a diagnosis immediately following an accident or incident is in many ways more valuable than say waiting six weeks to see a doctor and receive a diagnosis. This is because the insurance companies love nothing more than to say that some other intervening event happened during that six weeks that caused or contributed to the illness, injury or death and it absolutely can impact the value of a case. A client who had severe rib pain nursed at home for a week and did not want to take the time off of work to see his doctor. Three months later during a routine physical, it was found he had an electrical issue with his heart. He had been T-Boned at 40 mph in his driver door and his side curtain airbag had went off right into his ribcage causing severe rib pain with no breaks. Was the electrical issue in his heart caused by the accident? Or was it caused by something else that happened during that three months, like the fall that he took down the stairs at his house two months after the accident that broke two of his ribs? If he had been seen by a doctor immediately after the accident and then diagnosed with an electrical issue in his heart – after having a clear history of this issue, then it is greater evidence that the heart issue was directly caused by the accident, and not the fall down the stairs.
So how much is my case worth?
Unfortunately, there is never really any way to know what a case is worth. And if any Houston personal injury lawyers ever tell you a number at the outset of a case – you should find another lawyer. The reality is that it is a complex calculation that takes time to develop based on facts, circumstances, medical records, billing records, treatment history, rehabilitation and therapy, time lost from work, age, earning capacity, and the list goes on and on. Reach out to a team of experienced Houston personal lawyers like the lawyers at Houston Injury Lawyers, for a free consultation today. We don’t recover until you recover.
*At Houston Injury Lawyers, our clients are our family. As personal injury attorneys in Houston, Texas, we work to help our clients and their families recover from their injuries. Tip the balance of justice into your favor by hiring us. For a free consultation, contact us at (713) 366-HURT.