The state of our healthcare system is a discussion well beyond the scope of this article. The reality is, there are many people who simply do not have health insurance and many people that have coverage through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act who do not have access to a medical provider in the event of personal injury. In short summary, Medicaid’s reimbursement rates are so low that there are not a lot of providers who are willing to provide healthcare at that rate. Those providers that do accept Medicaid patients need to see a high volume of patients to simply meet the demands of overhead. The result is, when a patient needs to see a doctor it can take weeks before an appointment can be made. So, many people head to their local emergency room for auto accident personal injury. Again, this puts a high stress on the hospital to meet the needs of such a high volume of people. It will be a long, very long, wait and the care you receive may not be exactly what you were hoping to get, maybe not even getting x-rays or other radiological exams. The lack of insurance or insurance providing limited care to a medical provider is problematic for numerous reasons.
For the individual, this can lead to ongoing suffering as the problem(s) has not been diagnosed and thus, the proper therapy / treatment to remedy the condition has not been obtained. For the personal injury attorney, this can be challenging, trying to get the client adequately compensated for the types of injuries sustained in the auto accident and the pain and suffering associated with the personal injury. If the injury is not diagnosed, it is definitely difficult to obtain a personal injury recovery for it. Similarly, when weeks or months go by between medical visits, this reflects poorly on the urgency of the situation. Insurance companies always attack the gaps in care, claiming the next medical visit was not related to the auto accident or the client couldn’t have been hurting that badly. I had one defense attorney argue to the jury, “we all know what we do when we’re hurt, we go to the doctor and since plaintiff did not go to the doctor they couldn’t have been hurting”. This argument total disregards the challenges involved in seeing a doctor.
The benefit of having a personal injury attorney is: you get access to medical care, almost any type of care you need. There are doctors who are willing to provide care pending the outcome of the personal injury claim. There are funding companies that arose from the ashes of the broken healthcare system that are designed to fund whatever medical procedure may be necessary in relation to the incident. Thus, when the time comes to discuss your personal injuries with the insurance company, they have not only been diagnosed, they have been treated and you have highly qualified medical professionals to back your personal injury claim. And equally important, some defense counsel can’t tell a jury that you weren’t hurting because you didn’t see a doctor.