What you will learn from reading this article:
- The function of primary care physicians
- Why your doctor may refuse to treat you after an Indiana car accident
- What other options are open to you
The Functions of Primary Care Physicians
Your family doctor may have a positive relationship with you, and yet still decline to see you after your car accident. It is nothing personal. There are many reasons why a primary care physician may be reluctant to treat soft tissue injuries from a car accident, but most of them are business-related.
Your family doctor’s primary functions are to:
- Practice preventative care (such as keeping an eye on your blood pressure or cholesterol levels)
- Treat common illnesses (such as sinus infections or the flu)
- Detect dangerous conditions (such as heart disease or cancer)
- Manage chronic conditions (such as asthma)
- Make referrals to specialists
Reasons Why Your Family Doctor May Not Wish To Treat You After A Motor Vehicle Accident
- Your doctor did not specialize in soft tissue injuries, but there are many car accident physicians who do, so you would be advised to visit a doctor who specializes in motor vehicle accident injuries.
- When you are injured in an accident, your normal health insurance will not pay the claims. Instead, the car insurance company will be responsible for this.
- Your family doctor’s office manager is not used to filling out the piles of paperwork often necessary after car accidents.
- If your family doctor treats you, he or she may have to wait for a considerable amount of time to be paid. In a medical insurance claim, doctors are usually recompensed within 90 days, but car insurance companies pay in an average of 6-9 months, and in many cases, it takes much longer.
- Your family doctor has a list of procedures with billing costs that will be reimbursed by medical insurance companies. Car accident injuries do not have the same billing structure, which could mean that your doctor will not earn enough money on your claim.
- Indiana isn’t a no-fault state and doesn’t offer PIP (personal injury protection) coverage as part of car insurance coverage. It does have an option called MedPay, but that isn’t required. Even MedPay paperwork is unfamiliar to PCPs.
- Another reason your doctor may not wish to treat you after a car accident is that there is always a possibility that the claim is denied or that you and the insurance company can’t come to a fair settlement amount. If that is the case, your car accident attorney will take the case to court, and your doctor will have to testify or make a deposition. This takes a considerable amount of time to prepare for, and unfortunately, isn’t practical or financially viable for your doctor to take on this kind of responsibility for every patient who gets in a collision.
What Can You Do?
It does seem like an impossible situation. In 2019, 46,310 people suffered nonfatal injuries in Indiana traffic accidents. How were they treated?
- Those people who went to the emergency room were treated. It is illegal for an emergency room doctor to refuse treatment. If you were seriously injured and admitted to the hospital, you may have been directed to specific physicians for follow-up care. We are mainly discussing those who did not need to go to the emergency room, but who needed to be checked out. Remember, even injuries that seem minor can turn out to be serious in the long run. Many people don’t feel the full repercussions of a neck or back injury until hours, days, or even weeks after the impact, which is why they need to have a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
- You should know that there is a slight chance (a very slight chance) that your doctor will agree to treat you and will wait until your case is settled to be paid. The document that your doctor would have to accept is called a lien, and it is notoriously unpalatable for those who want to be paid on time.
- Your doctor may agree to treat you as long as you pay upfront. If you have enough money to afford this, you will get reimbursed yourself at a later date. Most people can’t afford to pay upfront, however. Medical bills can quickly mount up into the thousands.
- You could go to a doctor who specializes in treating the victims of motor vehicle accidents. This type of doctor will be familiar with the billing schedule and billing cycle in these types of visits and will also have experience in dealing with the enormous piles of paperwork necessary to go head-to-head with reluctant insurance companies. Neurologists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and other specialists of this type are better equipped for this task than your family doctor.
- You could retain an experienced car accident attorney who will be able to advise you on possible accident-friendly physicians. Personal injury attorneys will fight the insurance companies to get you fair compensation for your injuries. It helps them to have documentation of your soft tissue injuries written in a way that makes it impossible for the insurance company to deny your claim.
Most primary care physicians are excellent doctors, they just don’t specialize in car accident trauma or the intricate and extensive billing involved in these kinds of cases. Proving a soft tissue injury can be difficult, which is why most insurance companies fight these claims. Without an experienced Indianapolis soft tissue injury lawyer, you may not receive the compensation you deserve.
Call 1-800-265-9881 or contact us online now to learn how Poynter & Bucheri, LLC can help you with your personal injury claim.