An experienced traffic accident attorney will tell you that picking the right doctor to treat you is not just important for your recovery. Picking the right doctor can also help your personal injury case.
How so, you ask? It’s simple. A victim’s regular health insurance company generally doesn’t pay for traffic accident medical bills. (There are exceptions in some cases.)
Rather, the victim’s auto “no-fault” insurance will typically pay for a car accident victim’s medical expenses. This insurance is also known as personal injury protection, or “PIP.”
Now, a complicated set of regulations governs New Jersey no-fault PIP insurance. These regulations mandate certain treatment protocols. In other words, medical providers are not totally free to treat a PIP-insured victim any way that they want to.
Doctors Must Know Insurance Law
Rather, doctors treating auto accident victims covered by no-fault must treat them in specific ways. Some of these ways are known as “care paths.”
If a medical provider fails to treat a victim carrying PIP insurance as the regulations mandate, insurance may not pay for the treatment.
Doctor May Need to Testify
Putting aside insurance issues, there are other reasons to be careful about selecting a treating physician. For one thing, the testimony of that doctor in court may be crucial to the success of your case. You need someone who can clearly explain your medical treatment and prognosis to the jury. In clear, understandable language.
Unfortunately, some physicians do not like to go to court to testify, because they are very busy. Or for some other reason. While it may be possible to force the doctor to testify about what your course of treatment was, you generally don’t want to depend on a reluctant witness. One who doesn’t want to be there. Such a witness may not help your case. Indeed, they may even hurt it.
More fundamentally, you generally cannot force your doctor to give his expert opinion on any issue in dispute in the case. For example, as to whether the traffic accident caused your injuries. Same goes for your medical prognosis. Without such expert testimony, you may not be able to win your case.
Accordingly, your best bet after a motor vehicle accident is to select a medical provider who regularly treats auto accident victims with no-fault PIP insurance. And who also has no qualms about testifying, if necessary.
Traffic Accident Attorney Can Help
Your traffic accident attorney should be able to provide you with a list of questions to ask your medical provider in order to make sure that they have the proper qualifications.