The Shining Beacon of Post-Crash Priorities
In last week’s column, I discussed priorities for what to do at the scene of a crash. As promised, this week I am moving on to priorities for what to do after you have left the scene of a crash.
There is one post-crash task, or undertaking, that shines like a lighthouse beacon as a top priority above all others. It is so important that I feel like the wheel of a record player going round and round and round as I advise on this point again and again and again. It might seem “Of course!” obvious, but so many injured victims have a lack of understanding about how the medical system works, are misled by ICBC funding choices, or have a reluctance to get help where help is needed. I am talking about pursuing recovery for your injuries.
Our medical system is reactive, not proactive. You need to ask for help; it won’t come to you. This can be hard for many of us “suck it up” people who resist asking for help and don’t want to be viewed as a whiner. Bob is a case in point. It took me 2-3 months before I went to my doctor to find out how to get rid of him. Three courses of antibiotics and two minor “surgeries” later, “Bob the boil” was finally eradicated from my behind. Had I sought medical care much, much earlier the issue would have been dealt with in short order without a beast developing and being given a name.
Your goal is to achieve as complete and quick a recovery from your injuries as possible. You will achieve your goal by getting medical advice from a fully informed medical practitioner and very diligently following that advice. You can’t stop there, though. Car crash injuries are a moving target. Your medical practitioner’s care recommendations will change over time, depending on how your injuries respond. You need to go back from time to time in order to fully update your medical practitioner and get updated recommendations. How frequently? Ask your medical practitioner.
Medical treatment isn’t cheap, and ICBC holds the “purse strings” for funding crash injury related care. A “song and dance” ensues with getting referral slips from the doctor and sending them to the ICBC adjuster for funding “approval”, which repeats itself periodically as required by the adjuster. The adjuster will often offer to reimburse your “user fees” which you pay in addition to amounts paid directly by ICBC to the treating practitioner.
Often, the ICBC adjuster will agree to fund some, but not other care, or for a restricted amount of care. Eventually, and inevitably, the funding “tap” for certain care, or care generally, will be shut off. The critical thing to remember is that your ICBC adjuster has no medical training and is entirely unqualified to make decisions about your care. You must rely solely on your medical team to determine what care is most likely to reach your goal (of as full and quick a recovery as possible) and not make the critical mistake that many make, which is to adjust or stop care based on funding decisions made by an insurance adjuster.
How do you pay for care that is no longer funded by ICBC? You find a way. Easy for a “high priced lawyer” to say “find a way”? Yes, it is, but if you ever run out of options for funding your care give me a call and I’ll help you figure it out.
Does this sound like medical advice? It happens also be the best legal advice you could get to maximize the prospect of fair financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
Having gotten only to the first item on my list of priorities, I’m going to have to stretch my “priority list” over more than one column!