In the Hippocratic Oath, physicians pledge to their patients that they will "keep them from harm and injustice".
As a doctor, you have dedicated your life to the important job of tending to your patient's physical needs, to keep them from physical harm. As it should be, this is paramount in the treatment of your patients. However, there is another need that physicians in BC who treat accident victims should consider, one concerning injustice.
Our attorneys have seen many cases seriously compromised by an excellent doctor who, while providing exceptional medical care, did not do enough to assist his patients in documenting their injuries after an accident.
Under the current compensation system, ICBC places the burden of proving the extent of injuries squarely on the shoulders of the injured person. It is not fair, but that's the way it is. Therefore, anything you can do to assist your patients in clearly documenting their injuries will be extremely helpful; it may even protect them from a serious injustice.
Three Ways to Help
Our attorneys suggest that physicians who treat car accident victims:
- Give explicit, written, work advice. If your patient works on his feet, and the injury to his pelvis requires rest, you will need to be very specific as to how long he should be off his feet. This will help the accident victim, and our attorneys, show how the injuries sustained in the crash affected his ability to work.
- Encourage the accident victim to take photos of external injuries. Having photo evidence on hand can help show the progression of the injury and can help prove the seriousness of an injury. While many doctors are uncomfortable taking such photos, it is a good idea to encourage your patients to take the photos themselves. They should do so as the injury progresses, and before and after any surgeries.
- Encourage full disclosure. A physician should be the one person that people can be totally honest with, but that isn't always the case. It is crucial to your patients’ successful treatment and accident claim that they are completely candid about their injuries—those sustained in the accident and any that occurred before or after the crash.
Whether you are a physician or have been hurt in a car accident, we would like to offer you our free Special Report, Your Family Doctor Could Make or Break Your ICBC Claim. This book can help you avoid the most common ICBC claim mistakes and better understand the accident compensation system in BC.
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