Sometimes surgery is the only way to treat an injury, but there are other times when surgery is one of multiple treatment options. In these situations, the accident victim has a choice to make and there are various factors to consider.
However, one thing that should not factor into that decision is how surgery may affect a claim for compensation. Decisions about surgery should be based on what the victim and his or her doctors and loved ones think is best. After weighing the options, the victim can make an informed decision based on his or her health.
Surgery can certainly affect an injury claim, but each case is different. Sometimes surgery can increase the value of a claim but sometimes it can have the opposite effect. When surgery fixes the problem, the victim may not need much if any ongoing care. Your health should be your top priority when it comes to treating and managing your injuries.
An experienced Lafayette-based personal injury attorney from our firm is available to discuss the potential value of your claim for compensation. An initial consultation is free.
When Surgery Might Increase the Value of a Claim
There are certainly times when part of the reason a claim is worth more is because the victim needed one or more surgeries. In these situations, surgeries may not have fixed the problem, merely stabilized it to prevent further injury. The victim may still need ongoing care, which may include:
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Regular appointments with doctors
- Medical equipment, such as a wheelchair
- Additional surgeries
Those who get surgery often need post-operative care to ensure they do not suffer further injury. For example, sometimes people need to stay in the hospital after surgery. They may also need to follow up with a doctor multiple times after they are discharged from the hospital to check on stitches and/or assess the victim’s recovery.
Those who suffer spinal cord injuries may need spinal fusion to stabilize the spine and prevent further injury. However, the victim may have permanent paralysis in multiple limbs that can cause a variety of other health problems.
Traumatic brain injuries may need surgery, but surgery may not fix the damage done. The victim may be left with permanent cognitive limitations that prevent the victim from taking care of himself or herself without daily assistance.
Spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries often require victims to reorganize their lives and make various accommodations to handle everyday tasks. They may need to modify their homes, such as making changes to the entryway to accommodate a wheelchair. They may need to modify their vehicles to allow them to drive. The need for these accommodations can dramatically increase the value of a claim.
Other examples of injuries that may require surgery include:
Sometimes doctors can set the bones and put a cast on and that is enough. However, sometimes doctors need to take extra steps to promote healing. For example, they may need to implant rods and/or screws to put bones back together. This is often the case when there are multiple fractures or when bones protrude through the skin.
If a ligament or tendon gets torn, physical therapy may not be enough to treat it. Doctors may recommend surgery to repair the damage. However, the decision about getting surgery will be up to the victim.
Why Surgery May Not Increase the Value of a Claim
If you suffered an internal injury, you may need surgery to repair the damage, and this may require a stay in the hospital for a few days. However, after that, you may only need to attend a few follow-up appointments and maybe take some prescription medication. Surgery may have fixed the problem and the victim may have little to no ongoing damages.
The insurance company may devalue a claim because the victim had surgery. They may say surgery fixed the problem and the victim does not need significant compensation because there are little to no ongoing damages.
However, the insurance company may devalue a claim because the victim did not get surgery. They may say you are not severely injured because you did not need surgery or because you chose not to get surgery.
In some situations, the insurance company may devalue your claim and tell you the doctor is only recommending surgery for his or her own financial gain. They may say you are only choosing to get surgery because you think it will result in you receiving more compensation.
Risks of Surgery
It is important to emphasize there are risks with every surgical procedure, even if the doctor performing the procedure has done it countless time. Patients could have a reaction to anesthesia, develop an infection or suffer excessive bleeding. Sometimes doctors are negligent and cause further injury, such as damage to surrounding organs or tissues. Sometimes complications from a surgical procedure can be fatal, particularly if the doctors are negligent.
You should discuss the risks of surgery with your doctor, along with the potential benefits. Sometimes surgery does not have the desired result. You should never decide to get surgery because you think it may increase the value of your claim. The value of your claim is something to discuss with a licensed attorney.
It is also important to note the insurance company will not cover unnecessary surgery that was not recommended by your doctor.
Paying For Surgery Before a Settlement
Unfortunately, it is unlikely you will receive a fair settlement offer before getting surgery. It is also a bad idea to accept a settlement offer before getting surgery because you need to see how you respond to surgery. Your attorney can review your situation to determine the full value of your claim and when it may be possible to know what a claim may be worth.
There are various options for paying for medical treatment prior to getting a settlement. Sometimes there are ways to delay payment until your claim is resolved.
Contact Galloway Jefcoat to Discuss Seeking Compensation
There are many decisions injury victims need to make about a variety of issues, but one thing you do not need to be burdened by is the many challenges of the legal process. At Galloway Jefcoat, we are prepared to manage the legal process so you can focus on your treatment and recovery.
For decades, we have been securing compensation for injury victims to help them move forward after an unexpected injury caused by another’s negligence. There are no upfront fees for our services and no fees while working on your case.
Need Legal Assistance? Call Today for Help. (337) 984-8020