I tell people all of the time that if you want to have a successful Illinois workers’ compensation case, there can be nobody who cares about what happens to the case more than you. That doesn’t mean that you need to obsess about it. What it does mean is that you have to be invested in the process and making sure that not only are you following doctor’s orders, but also that you are going to the right type of doctor for your injury.
Most people think that they only have to worry about hiring a good lawyer and that a doctor is a doctor is a doctor. That’s just not true. It’s generally held in court that for back, arm, hand, foot and leg injuries, an orthopedic doctor is much more credible in treating the problem than a chiropractor or regular family physician. For neck and head injuries you want to be with a neurologist. Sometimes you need a pain specialist. While your lawyer can guide you to credible physicians, you have to be on the lookout for red flags too.
So what do I mean?
When you go to hire a lawyer, if your slime factor radar is going off and you still hire that attorney, you bear part of the blame when things go south. The same holds true when looking for a doctor. Most doctors are credible and really just want to take care of patients. Some, however, are clearly businessmen first, doctors second and the number of people in their waiting room and general disorganization reflects that. If they only give you a minute or two of their time, you know it’s a bad sign.
There are more subtle ways that you can verify if a doctor is good for your case too. You need to find out if they are board certified. While it’s not a requirement for them to practice medicine, it does seem to reflect their competence and certainly their credibility if they ever have to testify in your case. Put another way, you don’t want to lose your case because you chose to treat with a doctor who is not board certified.
A doctor down in Normal was recently threatened by a Judge for providing misleading testimony about his lack of being board certified (see http://illinoistimes.com/mobile/articles/articleView/id:17380). I’ll never forget taking the deposition of a doctor who had failed his boards multiple times and wouldn’t admit that he wasn’t board certified but instead only said over and over that he was “board eligible.” Soon thereafter an Arbitrator made it known that she would never trust anything this doctor says or award the huge bills that he runs up on his patients.
This might sound like a lot to handle and we can certainly help you through this process. We don’t know every doctor out there, but we do know a ton of great ones. This is one reason why we set up a state wide network. Having good attorneys throughout the state allows us to tell callers who is good and credible in their local area.
If you would like help with a case or just have questions, fill out the contact form to the right or call us at (312) 346-5578. We help everywhere in Illinois.