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Why thorough care is important to avoid ICBC unfairness: Part 1

How best to recover from car crash injuries? I’ve got some pointers.

But what would a personal injury lawyer know about medical care?

It’s actually a significant part of the legal claim process. I very carefully monitor injuries and care to ensure as quick and full a recovery as possible.

And after the medical system has had their full kick at the can, I often commission the opinions of top medical specialists to review the entire care and recovery history and provide opinions including anything more that might be done.

And I ensure those further recommendations are diligently followed through with.

Why?

The first days and weeks after a crash are the worst. But that phase passes. At some point, unless you’re lucky enough to achieve a full recovery, you will be left at a plateau with some level of ongoing symptoms.

That permanent outcome, after all care has been tried and “time heals” has run its course, is usually the biggest factor in evaluating fair compensation for your injuries and losses.

ICBC will wait until the end of the process to hire their own medical specialist to go through your care with a fine toothed comb. They look for anything you might not have fully followed through with, or for some new idea your medical team hasn’t come up with that will miraculously cure you (a “magic pill”).

If they find anything you haven’t fully followed through with, they will blame you for not doing enough to get better. In legal terms, that’s called a “failure to mitigate” your losses, and can result in reduced compensation.

And if they come up with a “magic pill”, they will deny compensation for your future losses saying that after four or five years of struggling to get better, their new idea your medical team hasn’t come up with will magically cure you.

And by then it’s too late to test out the “magic pill” to prove them wrong.

My formal training is in law, but I have gained much more informal medical training in the legal work that I do.

My first pointer is to work closely with a doctor.

This can be difficult. Many people don’t have a family doctor. And finding one who will take you on when you have an ongoing ICBC claim can be like finding a unicorn.

Try your best to find a unicorn. The next best thing is to time your visits to a walk-in clinic to see a consistent doctor.

Having your care supervised by a doctor is your best shot at optimal recovery that leaves no stone unturned.

This doesn’t mean going off on your own to access care and then popping in from time to time to get referrals. This means asking your doctor for care recommendations, following them diligently and returning as frequently as your doctor directs for updated recommendations.

They get paid the same for a three minute flu assessment as for a complex crash injury consultation so please make it easy for them. Come armed to clearly and quickly bring them up to speed with your care and how that care has been impacting on your condition.

Over time, therapies that might be important in the early stages after an injury will lose their value, providing only temporary benefit. Your doctor needs to know when your overall recovery stalls because that is an important indicator that other options should be explored.

I will continue with providing other pointers next week.

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