Doctors’ Roles in Georgia Personal Injury Claims
Doctors’ Roles in Personal Injury Claims in Georgia
Personal injury claims often arise when an individual suffers an injury as the result of someone else’s actions or omissions. For instance, many personal injury claims are the result of car accidents, where a person might be harmed as the result of another driver’s careless or negligent driving. Slip and fall cases, product liability, medical malpractice, and dog bite claims are some other forms of personal injury claims. In any personal injury claim, there will likely be evidence provided by medical practitioners. There are several ways a doctor might be giving evidence, and that evidence can have a major impact on the injured person’s claim.
The Treating Physician
One doctor who will likely be involved in the claim is the doctor who treated the individual after they suffered their injury. There might be multiple doctors who treated the person as well. For instance, emergency room doctors commonly treat the injuries of a victim immediately following an accident, but the person may follow up with their own doctor or have to go to additional physicians for later surgical procedures, or physical therapy, as part of their recovery.
The records gathered by the medical staff who treated the individual will likely become evidence. Sometimes, the doctor who treated the injured person will have more credibility than an expert doctor hired to illustrate the nature of the injuries for the purpose of the claim.
It is important that people who suffer injuries in these types of accidents seek medical attention promptly. If the records indicate that a great deal of time passed between the accident and the first visit to the doctor, juries and judges may doubt the severity of the injury or argue that had the victim been injured, he/she would have sought prompt treatment.
Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
In many cases, a defendant, or an insurance company will not agree with the assessment of a person’s injuries or the required treatment. For instance, perhaps the defendant thinks the plaintiff’s injuries are not as severe as the plaintiff has claimed, or that the injuries are actually preexisting conditions that the plaintiff suffered from prior to the accident. In these cases, the defendant might request an independent medical evaluation (IME). Whether a plaintiff should or should not submit to an IME should be discussed with an attorney.
Doctors can serve as medical experts who are able to give their medical opinions regarding the plaintiff’s injuries. Most witnesses are not allowed to offer their opinion, but rather, are limited to the facts they know from having witnessed some event relevant to the claim. In this way, medical experts are different. In order to be permitted to testify as a medical expert, the court will require the expert to establish his or her credentials by providing information regarding his or her educational and professional experiences.
It is possible for there to be more than one medical expert testifying, and these experts are paid by either the plaintiff or the defendant for their time testifying. For this reason, treating physicians are sometimes seen by juries as more credible than someone paid by one side to offer their medical opinion.
Medical experts are often highly critical to proving a claim. Medical issues are often technical and complex, so it is necessary to have someone with medical knowledge explain factors that are outside of the everyday knowledge of the average person who does not have medical training.
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If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with an experienced Accident Attorney in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty-three years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
Your Time to File a Claim is Limited By Georgia Law
There are time limitations for bringing a claim. Be sure to read our "Georgia Statute of Limitations" page for more information about important deadlines that effect your ability to file an injury claim. We also provide a "A Guide to Personal Injury Law in Georgia" that will help you better understand the laws the affect your case.
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