When you go to the doctor, there are a few things that you will be asked about at the beginning of the appointment. Your answers to these questions are often crucial to the success of your case because people from the insurance company will be going through them with a fine-tooth comb for things that they can use against you later.
In the medical field, these are known as the presenting complaints and the history.
When you are asked for your presenting complaints, either the doctor or a member of his staff will ask you what is wrong or what brings you into the office that day. We strongly encourage you to be as comprehensive about what is wrong with you, and not just focus on your major issues. You should be open and honest without exaggerating.
Case study: our client was in a rear-end car accident where he was thrown back and forth in his seat and cracked his knee on the underside of the dashboard. When the client went in to see his primary care doctor, he told his doctor about the severe pain he had in his low back and that his knee was sore too. Because the low back pain was really debilitating, the doctor ordered physical therapy directed at the low back. As the client improved and got to be more active, he noticed more and more the pain in his knee and a locking sensation. Two months after the accident, he was diagnosed as having torn cartilage in the knee. Proving that the accident was a cause of the torn cartilage would have been far more difficult without the note made early on by the primary care doctor about the client’s knee pain.
The history is your description of how and when you began to suffer from the symptoms that you are having. We recommend being clear, concise, and accurate about what happened, being sure to mention the accident as being a point where your symptoms either started or became much worse. We are required to show that the accident was a cause of your injuries and without this information, your doctor may not be able to draw the conclusions necessary to support your case.
The insurance company will go through your presenting complaints and the history to see what is and what is not there in an effort to show that your injuries were not caused by the accident or that the accident happened in some other way than what you are claiming in your lawsuit. For this reason, it is crucial to be clear, comprehensive, and accurate when describing what is physically wrong with you and how this came to be.