It can be tempting to discuss your ongoing personal injury case with your doctor, but there are several reasons why you should not. Sharing any legal advice or communications you have had with your lawyer can have serious repercussions. You do not want to say or do anything that could jeopardize your case.
The best advice a lawyer can offer is not to speak about your case. Any questions or concerns you may have throughout the legal process should be directed to your lawyer. At Greg Monforton & Partners, our experienced lawyers are available to help during an initial consultation at no cost or obligation to you.
If you have a viable case, we charge zero upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if you get paid.
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Solicitor-Client Privilege in a Personal Injury Case
Everything an injury victim discusses with their legal representation is subject to solicitor-client privilege. This privilege helps protect communications between a client and his or her lawyer. It allows clients to trust their lawyers with candid information and so that lawyers can offer confidential legal advice.
Anything discussed only becomes disclosed if that privilege is waived. Once any kind of legal advice or strategy is shared about a case to a third party, it could become subject to potential cross-examination by the other side’s defense team. A third party could include a family member, close friend and even your treating doctor. Anything you tell your doctor should be related to your medical care.
Be Careful What You Tell Your Doctor About Your Case
Your doctor’s objective is to diagnose and treat your injury after an accident. Your doctor does not need to know about your case or what you have discussed with your lawyer.
Sharing any issues or concerns about your case with your doctor is unnecessary. He or she does not want to become any more involved in a case then they should be. Doctors would prefer to not have a patient who is too preoccupied with his or her case instead of recovering from his or her injuries.
If you tell your doctor about your case, it may impact his or her motivation to provide treatment or make important decisions. What is said in confidence to a doctor, whether it is in an office or hospital setting, is never fully confidential and could be used as an argument against you by the other side.
Communications Likely Documented in Medical Records
It is important to note that anything shared with your treating doctor will likely be documented in your medical record. Doctors have a habit of documenting everything. If you tell your doctor details about your case, it may be written in your file where it could be disclosed to the other side during litigation.
If your medical records are subpoenaed, these records will be scrutinized. If you mentioned something you did not want to be made public, the other side may point it out to diminish your credibility.
For instance, if you tell your doctor about how much your case may be worth, this information could be used by the insurance company to offer a lower settlement that does not reflect your losses. If you disclose that your lawyer thinks your case is risky and that ends up in your medical record, the insurance company may decide to not settle and take their chances in court.
You do not want to discuss anything that prevents you from recovering the full compensation you need. Insurance companies will do whatever it takes to protect their bottom line, which is saving money.
Things You Should Discuss with a Doctor After an Accident
Remember that what you tell your doctor will likely be recorded in your medical record and could be used to harm your settlement or verdict. If your doctor does ask you a question about your case, be honest but stick to the facts. If you are asked to complete forms that ask if your injury was another’s fault or the subject of a claim or lawsuit, be sure to give clear and truthful answers.
If your lawyer decides to have your doctor testify on your behalf, your lawyer could handle that on your behalf. Any discussions you have with your doctor should be about your treatment and recovery.
This includes disclosing the following information:
- Your health history and habits, which may include a preexisting injury
- The pain and discomfort you are experiencing since the accident
- The limitations your injury has caused, such as an inability to work
Refusing medical care or delaying treatment could hurt not only your health but also your ability to recover fair and just compensation. That is why it is important to be careful about the actions you take. The best practice is to follow your doctor’s orders but not share any legal advice with him or her.
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Our Windsor-based personal injury lawyers have many years of experience advocating for injury victims. To date, we have successfully obtained millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients.
An initial consultation is free and confidential. You are not obligated after meeting with us to hire our firm, but if you do, we charge no upfront fees. We only receive payment if you obtain a recovery.
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