Mistakes Accident Victims Make When Talking to Doctors About Their Injuries

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on August 4, 2022  in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023

patient and doctor discussing a chartAfter an accident, one of the most important first steps is getting to a doctor who can diagnose and treat your injuries. There are some things you should be sure to discuss with your treating doctor to help protect the value of your claim, but injury victims often forget to do so, thus potentially hurting their chances to recover full compensation.

Discuss your claim with our New Jersey auto collision lawyers today to ensure you know what mistakes to avoid making when speaking to your doctor after an accident.

It is important to note that your treating doctors and the doctor performing an Independent Medical Exam (IME) are usually two different people. You should understand what an IME entails and how this visit differs from regular doctor visits.


A doctor who is treating you for your injuries should know about your medical history to help determine what treatment options may be best for you. This could range from something as simple as your allergies to something as complex as past injuries or pre-existing conditions.

Accident victims who fail to disclose this information to a treating doctor could not only be jeopardizing the value of an accident claim by damaging their credibility, but they are also putting their own health at risk. A doctor who is not aware of an old injury may prescribe treatment that would help a new injury but irritate an old one. Even worse, the treatment might be rendered ineffective because of a pre-existing condition.


Accident victims have the tendency to underestimate the severity of their injuries and how much pain they are experiencing. This could hurt your chances of recovering maximum compensation because the insurance company is going to be inclined to deny full compensation for your pain and suffering claim. If you fail to be honest with your doctor about the level of pain you are experiencing, it may be more difficult to prove the extent of these non-economic damages to the insurance company.

Sometimes accident victims may exaggerate their level of pain, which can be just as damning as underestimating it because it hurts the victim’s credibility. While pain tolerance is extremely subjective, it is important to note that most accident injuries are similar, and a whiplash injury is likely not going to produce the same level of pain as a broken bone.

It is generally best practice to be honest about how much pain you are in. Not only can this help strengthen your credibility in the case, but it could also help your doctors better understand what treatment is working.


Some injuries are serious enough to leave a person unable to work or with severe emotional trauma, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you do not discuss these additional effects on your life with a doctor, it may be more challenging to prove you need compensation for lost wages and emotional distress.

Discussing the effects of your injuries on your life may also help you get referred to the right doctors who may be able to better treat you, such as a therapist or psychologist. Accident victims suffering from emotional trauma like PTSD may need stringent treatment to help him or her get past the accident to return to his or her pre-accident way of life.


Another mistake some injury victims make when getting treatment after an accident is not following the doctor’s orders or recommendations. For example, if the doctor advises stopping certain exercises, such as weightlifting until a neck injury is stabilized. Failing to follow advice like this can not only be detrimental to one’s health, but it can also negatively impact a claim.

The insurance company has ways of finding out more about accident victims, like hiring a private investigator to follow the person around. If the injury victim is photographed or video-recorded performing an activity, he or she is said to not be able to do, the person’s credibility can be seriously impacted.


The insurance company is going to look for any way to deny or devalue your accident claim to avoid paying out compensation. The conversations you have with your doctors are generally part of a claim, so it is important to be honest with your doctor to avoid having your credibility attacked.

Before you speak to the insurance company, call a knowledgeable attorney who may be able to help you protect the full value of your claim.

The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.

Call (800) 518-0508 today.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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