If you’ve been injured in an accident in Texas, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In most cases, the nearest emergency room is the obvious and best choice. But some people elect to wait and see their primary care physician – only to find out getting treatment after an accident is harder than they would have imagined and their primary care physician is unlikely to treat them.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for some primary care doctors – even ones you’ve been seeing for years – to turn away accident victims. For them, it’s not worth the time or hassle to wait for their bills to be paid through a settlement or trial – or take on the risk that attorneys do – that they may not be paid at all.
In this article, the personal injury lawyers at Varghese Summersett Injury Law group explain why doctors refuse to see accident victims and what you should do if your doctor won’t treat you after an accident.
Can Your Primary Doctor Legally Refuse to Treat You After an Accident in Texas?
In short, yes. Although it’s disappointing when your primary doctor won’t treat you after an accident, it is within their rights. Under Texas law, general healthcare providers are allowed to refuse care as long as it is done without discrimination. This means the doctor cannot refuse to treat you because of your race, gender, or sexual orientation. However, they can refuse to see you for just about any other reason, including if your injury was caused by someone’s else’s negligence and may result in legal action.
Having said that, the rules are different for hospital emergency room doctors. Under federal law, hospitals are required to provide emergency care. This means that emergency room doctors cannot legally refuse to treat accident victims or turn them away.
5 Reasons Why You’re Doctor Won’t Treat You After an Accident
Car wrecks or slip-and-fall accidents are extremely common, and they can lead to various injuries, which may require significant long-term treatment. It’s natural to assume that you can just make an appointment with your doctor and receive the necessary medical care after an accident. However, it’s not always the case, and you may find that your doctor won’t treat you after an accident or car crash. Here are five main reasons why primary care doctors refuse accident victims:
1. The Doctor Doesn’t Want to Deal with Attorneys and Insurance Companies
Doctors are extremely busy, and the last thing they want to do is deal with injury attorneys and insurance agents. They don’t have time to become drawn into a legal battle as an expert witness and to have their notes and opinions analyzed or otherwise be involved in a bitter dispute over a patient’s injuries and treatment. To avoid the legal process, they will just decline to see the patient altogether. If doctors wanted to be in court, they would have become lawyers.
2. The Doctor Doesn’t Want to Fight to Get Paid.
When motorists are injured in an accident, they often rely on personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover expenses. This can be problematic for doctors whose staff are used to dealing with health insurance, not auto insurance. Billing can get complicated quickly, and they lose time (and money) trying to figure out how to submit claims or handle the paperwork in an efficient manner. This can often result in delayed payments, reduced payments, and even rejected bills. After all, insurance companies love to claim that treatment wasn’t medically necessary. For these reasons, doctors just say no to accident victims.
3. The Doctor Doesn’t Have the Necessary Expertise
It’s not uncommon for car crash or accident victims to suffer from serious injuries that require specialized medical attention. Even though your family doctor may have treated you for years, that doesn’t mean they are prepared to treat serious and, often, unforeseen injuries. As a result, they may be hesitant to get involved in your care at all.
4. The Doctor Has Liability Concerns
In some cases, a doctor may refuse to treat you after an accident due to liability concerns. They may worry that they could be held responsible for any complications that arise from your long-term injuries, or they may worry that treating you could impact any legal claims you may have related to the accident.
5. The Doctor Doesn’t Have Availability.
Doctors have busy schedules and limited appointments. After an accident, they may not be available to fit you in for an appointment in a timely manner. In those instances, they may just decline to see you all together.
Despite the doctor’s ability to refuse care, it is still important to seek medical attention after an accident. When your doctor won’t treat you after a car crash or other type of accident, there may be other options available to you. Keep reading to find out what to do next.
What Should You Do If Your Doctor Won’t Treat You After an Accident?
If your primary doctor refuses to treat you after an accident, there are several steps you can take to ensure that you receive the care you need:
- Seek Medical Attention Elsewhere
If your primary doctor is unable or unwilling to treat you, it’s important to seek medical attention elsewhere. Our attorneys are experts at getting you the treatment you need. You can also consider going to an urgent care center or emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
- Consider Seeing a Specialist
If you believe you have sustained serious injuries as a result of an accident, you may need to see a specialist for treatment. A specialist may have the expertise and training required to effectively treat your accident injuries and help you recover.
- Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
If your doctor refuses to treat you after an accident, it may be a sign that you have a legal claim related to the accident. Consulting an attorney who specializes in personal injury law can help you understand your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected. The attorney could also provide your doctor with something called a “letter of protection” to ensure that you will receive treatment and the doctor will get paid.
What is a Letter of Protection?
In Texas, a letter of protection is a document that a personal injury plaintiff’s attorney may use to secure medical treatment for their client. It is essentially an agreement between the attorney and the medical provider that the provider will provide treatment to the client, even though the client may not be able to pay for those services upfront.
With a letter of protection, the medical provider agrees to wait for payment until the plaintiff’s personal injury claim is resolved. Once the claim is settled or a verdict is reached, the medical provider will be paid directly from the proceeds of the settlement or verdict.
A letter of protection can be beneficial for personal injury plaintiffs who are struggling to pay for medical treatment after an accident. It allows them to receive the necessary medical care without worrying about the immediate financial burden. It also helps to ensure that the plaintiff receives the best possible medical treatment to aid in their recovery.
Not all medical providers will accept a letter of protection and it’s up to the discretion of each provider.
Doctor Won’t Treat You After an Accident? Contact Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group.
In Texas, it isn’t illegal or unethical for a doctor to refuse to decline treatment of accident victims. However, it is extremely frustrating if you are an accident victim and need treatment for your injuries.
At Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, we have resources at our fingertips to help get you the medical attention that you need. We work with the top medical professionals in Fort Worth and North Texas. We can help find you a doctor who is willing to treat you and put you on the road to recovery.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident, contact Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that you receive the care and compensation you deserve.
Best of all, we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that our clients don’t pay us anything upfront, there’s no cost for a consultation, and there is no legal fee until we win the case.
Ready for some relief? Call 817-207-4878 (HURT) to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.