Too often, our firm locations in Brisbane, Gold Coast (Robina), Beenleigh and Cairns is approached by clients who have questions about how they are to live with their pain. Yet, this is such a complicated question because it involves both significant changes to a person’s lifestyle, as well as medical treatment. A lawyer cannot prescribe or recommend medical treatment and such questions should best be left to a medical professional such as a doctor or a rehabilitation specialist.
However, where a lawyer can assist a client after they have been injured in an accident is in helping them get the compensation that they need to undergo such treatment, as well as compensate for any other losses such as wage losses, domestic assistance, pain & suffering compensation, etc. The role of compensation is to best put the victim back to the position they were in before the accident occurred.
There are a number of legal issues that arise from clients dealing with pain that should also be considered as well:
- 1) Unless you are a doctor, it may be difficult to predict your recovery
A very common mistake that clients make after an accident is that they try to “soldier” through it without consulting a doctor for medical advice, or a personal injury lawyer for legal advice.
This can have serious effects on your health and livelihood if your injury progressively becomes worse. There are many clients who have experienced what started as minor injuries such as back pain after a work accident, becoming almost completely debilitating later on.
From a legal perspective, delaying too long in seeking legal advice might result in key evidence of your accident and injury being lost. For example, if you were in a car accident, the skid marks of the accident may fade away or your injuries may be accredited to another incident that is separate from your initial accident. At worst, you may even lose your rights to claim for compensation because you pass the limitation period to file a claim.
Do not make this mistake. It is important to seek appropriate medical advice about your condition, as well as protect your legal rights by speaking with an accredited specialist in personal injury.
- 2) You have a duty to try and mitigate your losses
Another legal concern that arises with clients is that they sometimes fail to properly mitigate their losses after an accident. You are obligated by the court to at least attempt to try to recover from your situation such as seeking appropriate medical care or trying to return to work after an accident. These attempts do not have to successful, but your damages in court may be reduced if you failed to at least try and mitigate your losses when it was reasonably appropriate.
- 3) You need to prove your damages
This legal issue is often more difficult than it sounds. Clients who are suffering ongoing pain from soft tissue injuries may find themselves hard pressed to prove it to an insurance company because their x-rays do not show any objective findings. Yet, this is not representative of the ‘whole story.’ An x-ray will only show if there are broken bones, but this is certainly not the only reason why a victim may be suffering pain. A CT scan or an MRI may be a recommendation from a treating doctor that can show more information about your injury.
Sadly, some people may give up on their injuries when the find that an insurance company refuses to compensate them for ‘lack of evidence.’ Alternatively, in a work injury, they may be surprised that their WorkCover insurer’s independent medical examination results in them being able to return to work despite their inability to do so from their pain.
It is important for a client to fully investigate their injuries. Sometimes, it may be appropriate to seek a second opinion if an initial treating doctor is being unhelpful (too busy, not listening to your complaints, etc.) or is addressing an aspect of your injury that they may be unfamiliar with.
A helpful tip when dealing with your treating doctor is to refrain from taking your pain medication one day prior to your appointment until your appointment is over. This way, your doctor can assess the ‘real you’ and it may be easier for them to determine the appropriate treatment you need to address your injuries.
- 4) You need to be informed
Dealing with pain is often not a single factor. Rather, it is a complicated issue that requires a multi-disciplinary and active approach for a client to feel beneficial results. It is important that a client do their best to keep themselves informed so they can ask specific questions to their medical professional. Some very helpful resources include:
It is also critically important that a client be aware of their legal rights concerning an accident. Seeking the advice of an accredited specialist in personal injury is often accessible with a free, initial consultation. Knowing what your legal entitlements to compensation are can provide the funds that are needed to seek ongoing medical treatment, as well as compensation for any other losses that are attributed to your accident.
East Coast Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you have been injured in an accident anywhere in Queensland, including areas such as Brisbane, or in the Gold Coast (Robina, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, etc.), then our firm can help you with the legal advice you need to make an informed decision concerning your legal rights. Our accredited specialists in personal injury have versatile experience in both plaintiff representation and insurance defence, which may be a valuable resource in giving you a comprehensive view of your rights under the laws of negligence.