Why Does My Medical Expert Not Treat Me?
As a Personal Injury Solicitor my clients will often ask me why a medical expert does not provide treatment when they attend an appointment to see the expert.
What is a treating doctor?
If you have suffered injuries as a result of an accident you will more often than not attend an appointment to see your GP or attended Accident and Emergency to see a doctor in a hospital setting.
If you have suffered a fractured arm for example you may attend A&E and be referred initially for x-rays and scans. These will confirm if you have suffered a break or have suffered soft tissue injuries. You will then be assessed by an orthopaedic consultant at the hospital and may be treated operatively or non-operatively. There is a possibility you will be sent home with a plaster cast or a sling and thereafter will remain under the care of the doctors.
Follow up treatment may then include a course of physiotherapy treatment.
The doctors and medical staff that assess you and provide treatment are treating doctors. It is important that you follow the advice and treatment of any treating doctors. This may be via the NHS or you may pay for this privately or it could be privately funded via private medical insurance for example.
What is the role of a medico legal expert?
If you suffer an injury which is not your fault you may decide to pursue a personal injury claim. As part of a claim you will need to be assessed by a medico legal expert/s. The purpose of the medico legal expert is to provide a report detailing the injuries sustained as a result of the accident and to provide a prognosis period for recovery and any recommendations for treatment and further investigations.
The medical expert will therefore not provide treatment to you. They will simply have a duty to the Court to provide an independent medical report. The medical experts will often be provided with copies of your full medical records ahead of any appointment and a full review of records will often be commented on in the medical report.
Therefore when you attend a medical appointment for the purpose of obtaining a report, the medical expert will examine you and ask a series of questions and then prepare a report following the appointment. Treatment will not be provided by the medical expert and it is imperative you follow the advice and treatment arranged by your treating doctors to aid the recovery of your injuries.