#1 What is the critical information I need from patients to help them following a car accident?

by | For Providers, Personal Injury Claims FAQ

QUESTION: How can I get the critical information I need from my patient to help them following a car accident?

ANSWER: To make sure you have an accurate picture of your patient’s medical history and the details about the car accident — especially how fast the other car was going that hit your patient, frame your questions in several different ways, so that you get a thorough and complete response.

What is the critical information I need from patients to help them following a car accident?

Making sure you have an accurate picture of your patient’s medical history and details about the car accident — especially how fast the other car was going that hit your patient. It can be challenging to get accurate and complete when meeting with a patient for the first time, but it’s critically important to their case.

When I meet with a potential client, during our first meeting, I always ask if they’ve had any prior similar injuries or problems with their neck or back in the past. It’s not unusual for them to say, “No, not at all?” It’s only after asking the same question in a couple of different ways do I get the information I’m really looking for.

Here’s how a typical conversation goes, “Have you ever had an injury to your neck or back before this? “No.”, is oftentimes their answer. I’ll then ask, “Have you ever seen a chiropractor before this accident?” “No,” they reply. “Have you ever had an on-the-job injury?” “Oh yeah.”, they say. And then I ask, “Were you injured?” “Yes, I was.” “And what happened?” “ I hurt my neck and my back and was treated by a chiropractor and a massage therapist.”

It’s not that their first responses weren’t honest. The reason I got a different answer is because we all store information and retrieve it in varying ways. This is why I vary the ways I ask the same question. The key is not just asking the question in just one way and expecting to get a complete and accurate answer.

The same is true for asking about how fast the other car was going when the collision happened. Here’s how it goes when I talk to many of my clients about the speed of the other car — “How fast was the other car going when it hit you?“ They tell me, “Thirty miles an hour.” Then I’ll ask, “Did you see the car at any point in time before the impact?“ “No.”, is often their response. Then, I’ll say, “How do you know how fast they were going?“ “Well, it felt like a hard impact.” Or another response I often get is, “that’s the speed limit.” So, their answer of 30 mph was honestly their opinion. They just really don’t know that’s what you need to know.

It really does come down to the art of asking the right questions and framing the questions in different ways, so that you get a thorough and complete response.

To protect your credibility as a medical provider and get accurate information, remember to ask critical questions in two or three different ways. Protect your credibility. Protect getting paid. Protect your client. Protect their claim.

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