Bringing a personal injury claim after an accident requires showing medical evidence of your injuries. Your doctors need to provide reports and testimony to demonstrate that your injuries are due to the accident, as well as the severity of your medical condition. A great report may mean a great settlement. A confusing or inadequate medical report may mean a bad settlement. A well-prepared doctor who is skilled at putting medical terms into language everyone can understand may lead to a larger jury award. A doctor who isn’t strong in court may reduce your chances for the full damage award you deserve.
At Harris Lowry Manon LLP, our Savannah personal injury lawyers have obtained multiple verdicts and settlements for $1 million or more. Part of the reason we are able to obtain these strong results is our experience and skill in working with your doctors and our medical experts.
We’re skilled at handling all types of injury cases, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, burn injuries, traumatic amputation, broken bones, internal organ damage, vision loss, and all other types of catastrophic, permanent, and serious injuries. This means that we’re skilled at working with emergency room doctors, neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedists, plastic surgeons, pain management doctors, family doctors, and other types of medical professionals.
What is a medical report?
Before we negotiate any settlement with the insurance companies, we need to know the full scope of your injuries, including:
- Your current injuries: Your doctor should be able to explain these injuries based on his/her physical examination, oral history, and diagnostic tests.
- What medical treatment you’ve had and will need in the future: This treatment includes ER care, surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy and other types of therapy, assistive devices, and medications. For past treatment, the doctor should be able to provide the dates of the treatment and whether the treatments worked. For future treatment, the doctors will need to explain what medical care you will need, how often, and for how long.
- The cost of your medical care: The cost to date and the costs of future care.
- Why the accident caused your injuries: A key part of a personal injury claim is to show that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries.
- How the injuries affect your ability to work, function, and enjoy life: This part of the doctor’s report helps to show how much physical pain and emotional suffering you have and will have. This part also verifies whether your injuries prevent you from earning a living.
- Other medical issues: Depending on the type and severity of the injuries you have, a life care plan may be necessary to care for you.
- Responding to Defendant’s medical positions: Your doctor may counter positions taken by the insurance company and the doctors who work for the defense.
Depending on your injuries and the doctors who are monitoring your care, one doctor may be able to provide a full report of your medical injuries. For severe trauma and injuries, multiple doctors may be needed to provide proper treatment and each may provide separate medical reports.
Our lawyers understand what questions to ask the doctors before they complete their report and what specific concerns need to be addressed. If we think the doctor’s report is insufficient, we will speak with your doctors about additional support needed based on your medical history.
What is a physician video deposition?
If a case cannot be settled, then it is scheduled for trial. The testimony of the doctor at trial is generally presented in one of two ways. The most direct way is for your doctor(s) to testify in court before the jury. The second way is by using a video deposition. A video deposition is a recorded question-and-answer session that usually takes place either at the doctor’s office, the office of one of the lawyers involved in the case, or at a room at the courthouse.
Questions generally cover the same issues that are covered in the medical report. The lawyers for the defendants have the right to ask the doctor questions. If there are objections related to the deposition, the judge will rule on the objections before the video is introduced into evidence at trial.
There are some advantages and some disadvantages to having your physicians use a video deposition instead of testifying in court.
- The biggest advantage is that the doctor charges a smaller fee for a deposition than for a court appearance.
- The video deposition can be scheduled at everyone’s convenience. Normally, a video deposition of a doctor takes a few hours. If a doctor has to testify in court, the doctor will normally charge for the time he/she needs to travel to the courthouse and the waiting time.
- Doctors who testify at their offices can access their records easier than if they have to bring all their records to court.
The downside of a video deposition is primarily that live testimony may provide a stronger impression than a digital presentation. A video deposition normally doesn’t include a judge. Sometimes, it is advantageous to have a judge rule on various questions that may be asked during a deposition. For example, we may object if a defense lawyer wants to ask the doctor about any prior medical conditions that don’t relate to the injuries you suffered in the incident.
Harris Lowry Manton LLP is the only Georgia firm to secure No. 1 verdicts in seven different categories – automotive, products, business torts, premises, nursing home abuse and neglect, and medical malpractice – in the last 10 years. We demand compensation for all your medical expenses, lost income, loss of function, pain and suffering, and all other damages the law permits. To speak with Savannah personal injury lawyers who are skilled at working with physicians, call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.