Getting timely medical care after an injury or accident is vitally important. The longer an injury goes untreated, the less likely it will fully heal. If certain types of injuries are not diagnosed and treated immediately, they may lead to severe complications or even death.
For example, a slip and fall can fracture a vertebra, which, if left untreated, can cause a permanent spinal cord injury. The first thing you should do after an accident is to seek medical care, even if you don’t think that you have been seriously injured.
While many of today’s injured accidents victims are hesitant to seek medical care, for fear of coming in contact with the COVID-19 virus, telemedicine appointments can provide a safe, viable option for getting the treatment they need.
The personal injury attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. have provided the following information and resources so that you can seek medical attention whenever you need it.
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Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases
During the COVID-19 pandemic, victims of accidents may be very reluctant to seek medical care. They may be very afraid of being exposed to the virus in a medical setting. They may also be concerned that the hospital is so overwhelmed by COVID-19 victims that it cannot provide proper treatment for any other condition.
Many doctor’s offices are not seeing patients right now, and sitting in the waiting room of an urgent care clinic may be risky in terms of being exposed to the virus. Also, most patients have heard about the severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). How can they be sure their doctor or nurse has access to PPE and is using it correctly?
Even before the pandemic, telemedicine was becoming increasingly popular. Patients can consult with their health care provider remotely by a video interface. The doctor and patient can discuss any symptoms or concerns, the doctor can renew prescriptions or order imaging examinations/laboratory testing, and if necessary, the doctor can suggest the patient proceed directly to an urgent care or emergency room. If imaging and/or laboratory testing needs to be performed, the doctor can discuss the results with the patient via a second telemedicine session.
Physical therapists have also been excited to learn they can conduct physical therapy sessions remotely with their injured patients. They can demonstrate the appropriate exercises and provide guidance while the patient performs the prescribed exercises. Physical therapy is vital to recovery from practically all injuries.
In the pandemic era, telemedicine consults have largely replaced in-person consults. In addition to being convenient and useful, they prevent any in-person contact that might spread the virus. It has many advantages:
- The patient doesn’t have to travel.
- The patient can consult any doctor regardless of the doctor’s physical location.
- The patient doesn’t have to spend time waiting for the doctor.
Despite these advantages, prior to the pandemic, only around 20% of patients were regularly using telemedicine, despite the efforts of many health care providers and insurance companies to push the technology.
However, everything changed in 2020. All of the major health care leaders, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Academy of Family Physicians, have released guidelines on telemedicine. They, along with the CDC, are urging patients and health care providers, alike, to consider using the technology.
Timely and Proper Medical Treatment Is Key to Your Personal Injury Claim
One of the most important aspects of winning a personal injury case are medical records proving that you actually were seriously injured and that your injuries were directly caused by the accident. Victims who seek medical care after a delay may have difficulty convincing a jury that they were indeed seriously injured, and that the injuries were caused by the accident.
In addition to seeking medical care immediately, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and continue to attend all prescribed treatments and follow-up evaluations – including those conducted by telemedicine.
Getting Medical Treatment Through Telemedicine
After an accident that causes injuries, you need to seek medical care as soon as possible. A telemedicine consult may be the safest, most convenient way to do so. Your health care provider can assess your symptoms and determine if you need urgent or emergency care.
If you don’t need urgent care, your health care provider can suggest a preliminary diagnosis and propose a testing and treatment plan. This initial consult will be recorded in your medical records, including the date and time of your injury, and can be used in your personal injury lawsuit as proof of your injury.
If the police officers or EMTs on the accident scene think you should go to the emergency room, do so. If not, as soon as you can, call your personal physician and seek a telemedicine or in-person appointment. If your personal physician isn’t currently offering either, contact your health insurance company for assistance in locating a telemedicine treatment provider.
Alabama Telemedicine Treatment Providers
- National 24/7 telehealth medical services: MDLive and Amwell
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama provide telehealth services to its members through Teladoc
Alabama-based telehealth medical services are offered by:
- UAB eMedicine
- Cullman Regional
- Southern Bone & Joint
- Alabama Orthopedic Clinic
- Alabama Orthopedic Clinic Physical Therapy
- The Orthopedic Center
Talk to Our Lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C.
The next step in seeking the compensation that you deserve for your injury is talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. The highly experienced lawyers at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., offer free consults for every case, which can be conducted remotely.
Once we have established the facts of your case, we will work tirelessly to explore all options to pursue the compensation you deserve. Our firm has been serving Northern Alabama since 1966. We have an excellent track record of successful personal injury cases and have secured a number of million-dollar settlements for injured clients.
Call us today. We can help.
After joining the Morris firm in 2004, it was his first venture into plaintiff’s personal-injury law. While he’s been co-counsel in numerous trials, he quickly took on the role of being the chief brief writer and appellate attorney in the office.