Should My Lawyer Dictate My Medical Treatment?

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					Should My Lawyer Dictate My Medical Treatment?
In today's world, professional roles are very clearly defined. Your doctor is much better
at attending to your medical needs than he is arguing your case in court. In the same
way, your lawyer is much better at handling your legal issues than he is directing your
medical treatment. There may be exceptions but they are rare.

If you have been injured in an accident, it is critical that you obtain medical treatment
right away. This maximizes your chances to recover quickly and completely from
whatever injuries you may have sustained in the accident. Medical treatment is always
paramount to a legal consultation, if there are serious injuries.

There is no question that it is the job of a health care professional to direct your medical
treatment. If an attorney insists on you receiving treatment from a particular doctor, a red
flag should go up immediately. It is your right and responsibility to select your own
doctor or to be treated by medical professionals who are within your health insurance
company's network.

If an attorney attempts to direct your treatment be sure you know why and be sure it is in
your best interest.

Conflict of Interest

An attorney's loyalties should only be to the best interests of his client. The term "conflict
of interest" means that a person in a position of authority has competing interests, often
personally or professionally. This makes it difficult for the individual to fulfill his duties
to both parties at the same time. A conflict of interest may exist even in cases where
nothing unethical or inappropriate has taken place.

Even an appearance of a conflict is sufficient to erode the credibility of a professional and
is expected to be avoided. Such scenarios may also prove disadvantageous to claimants
during the trial when defense attorneys will be quick to point out such referral
arrangements between doctors and attorneys. Pre-arranged partnerships between lawyers
and doctors could be detrimental to your case.

Can Lawyers Make Recommendations?

There are instances where it is acceptable for a lawyer to recommend a doctor. A lawyer
may make such a recommendation when asked. For example, if a client is having trouble
finding a doctor and specially requests a referral, a lawyer may make a referral. Also,
sometimes, in preparation for a trial, an attorney may retain a doctor who can testify to
some critical aspect of a client's case. These are "expert witnesses" who can enlighten the
court or the jury to some aspect of your case. An expert witness should not be the one
who provides medical services on a lien because he or she will benefit from the
settlement of the case, which the defense is likely to bring out in court.
Finding the Right Attorney

It is crucial that you find a personal injury attorney who values integrity and professional
ethics. An attorney who does not compromise on ethics and refuses to take shortcuts will
clearly bear your best interests at heart and fight for your right to receive fair
compensation. You need an attorney whose loyalties are clearly focused on you and not
on furthering his own interests. The best personal injury lawyers will also offer advise
and allow you to make the decisions that have an impact on your case and your future.

Your best course of action is to consult with a very successful personal injury law firm as
soon after your injury as is practical. The worst time to get the right advice is after you
needed it.

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