Importance of Reporting Injuries and Symptoms to Your Doctor

Published 12 Sep 2012

There has always been a debate in terms of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident and how they are assessed under the Motor Accident Compensation Act. Those who have sustained injuries in motor vehicle accidents need to ensure when they see their doctor that they advise the doctor all body parts injured. This also is very important in subsequent visits as sometimes other body areas may have sustained injuries but symptoms don’t appear until a few days or even weeks later.

In a lot of cases, the injured person attends the doctor and complains about pain in the neck or upper back but forgets to mention any problems in relation to pain radiating into the shoulders, thinking it is the neck injury. Insurers and medical assessors always look at what symptoms develop within a reasonable period of time after the accident and in particular, what symptoms the individual has complained of. It is for this reason that it is very important that those who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident ensure that they regularly see their doctor, especially in the first six months to monitor their condition.

Doctors who examine the client on behalf of the insurer company and/or their solicitor will look at contemporaneous records such as the ambulance report, hospital clinical records, initial medical certificate and/or general practitioner clinical records. They will look at what complaints were made by the injured person to the ambulance officer, doctor at the hospital and even the general practitioner.

It is understandable that individuals after an accident are in shock. They are not fully aware of all the injuries. In some cases they may have injured their neck but don’t realise that there are other body parts that could be affected. In such cases the other body parts which may be affected would include the upper back, shoulders, arms and lower back. Whiplash injuries are notorious for incorporating injuries to the neck, upper and lower back and resulting in symptoms of pain radiating to both the shoulders, arms and hands. It is for this reason that you should always be aware of these symptoms and report them immediately to your GP and doctors.

You may sustained an injury by way of a fracture to the leg or arm but don’t realise that you have also possibly injured your lower back or other body particular. It is for this reason that if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident or accidents generally which are the subject of a possible compensation claim, you should see your GP and ensure that a full history is recorded by that doctor.

It is equally important that you continue to see your GP over the first six months after the injury so as all symptoms are reported to that doctor.

In some cases, some injuries may result in a secondary injury developing over 6 to 8 months. It is for that reason that there should be close monitoring of these symptoms and equally important that you ensure that your doctor is advised and records the development of these subsequent symptoms.

It is essential to ensure that your solicitor is advised of not only the initial injuries you sustained but any subsequent complaints that you have developed in other body areas as these may be also directly related to the initial injury.

It is not uncommon also that after significant use of medication that people may develop stomach problems over a period of 1 or 2 years. It is not uncommon for an injury to the lower back to result in pain and discomfort in the upper back or neck region as a result of having to alter one’s gait or one’s posture.

The important thing to remember is that in all instances you should keep a close relationship with your GP, ensure that you see him or her on a regular basis. It is important that the doctor records all the injuries and makes a note of all of your complaints and symptoms. It is equally important to ensure that over the first 6 months that all symptoms are recorded and even to the extent of over the first 12 months as sometimes it is common for a secondary injury to also develop.