There is a wide range of doctors. Some are excellent, while others…well they may need more training. When you have a doctor treating you or your loved one for a semi-truck accident, having a doctor that understands the seriousness of the injury is helpful. Further, there are certain types of injuries that regularly occur in semi-truck accidents that some of the doctors that are more general practictioners will not diagnose.
These pages will detail what types of injuries that doctors need to be looking for, and some of their associated treatment. Further, we will provide you resources of how to evaluate your doctor, and see if he is the doctor best suited to treat you or your loved one’s injuries.
Semi-Truck Accident Doctors
How to evaluate a doctors
When to ask for a new doctor
Types of Injuries
Traumatic Brain Injury
Serious Soft Tissue
How to Evaluate a Doctor
Some doctors are better than others. When a semi-truck accident results in injuries, having excellent doctors treat you should be a high priority. If you are no longer getting emergency medical treatment, the doctors that you visit are up to you. You can choose if you do not like a particular doctor, to go to a different doctor. This is more difficult if you have a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) type insurance plan.
In a Health Maintenance Organization, you can pick your primary doctor (but after you pick him, it is difficult to change) and the doctors you can see are “in-network” doctors only. This means that if you do not like one of your specialists, you really are hoping there is another specialist of that type in your area. Otherwise you may be stuck with a doctor…that may have room for improvement.
Quick Doctor Evaluation Tip:
What distinguishes a good doctor from a bad doctor is the level of medical treatment and knowledge that doctor can use to treat you.
This is markedly different from simply not liking the doctor because he or she is short, unattractive, talks too fast or too slow, or any other type of personality traits. Some of the best doctors are ones with personalities that are less than stellar. However, their medical knowledge and treatment of their patients is stellar. Having a knowledgeable doctor that is lacking on social skills is much preferable to having a doctor without outstanding social skills, and poor medical knowledge.
The doctor is not there to socialize. The doctor is there to give you medical advice, and help treat your injuries.
When to Ask for a New Doctor
Here is how to ask for a new doctor related to a semi-truck accident:
Asking for a new doctor in relation to a semi-truck accident is a sensitive subject. No one likes to confront their doctor and ask for a new evaluation. An easier way to ask your doctor for a new doctor is to frame it in a different context. You can tell your doctor that you are getting a second opinion, and you need your medical records to be viewed by another doctor.
When to ask for a new Doctor:
Here are a few scenarios where you should consider asking for a new doctor.
Not paying attention to your head injury: This is by far and away the most common. Semi-Truck accidents regularly cause traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are often the result of these accidents because of the massive amounts of force that is involved. They are also the most under-diagnosed injury in the United States that demands treatment. An undiagnosed head injury will change your or your loved ones life.
Here is how you can tell if the doctor is passing over your head injury:
If you complain of pain or trauma to your head after the accident, and the doctor does not seek an MRI or CT scan of your head.
This one is pretty cut and dry.
If you mention that you hit your head, and the doctor tells you it will go away, and just gives you some pain medicine for your headache.
This is also cut and dry. If you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, and the doctor assumes your head pain will go away, you should get a second opinion.
If the doctor wants to diagnose you with Post Concussive Syndrome, this is often a doctor’s under-diagnoses of a traumatic brain injury. This is the doctor’s way of saying you had a concussion, but did not have a more serious traumatic brain injury. If the doctor diagnoses you with this injury, when you have ongoing dizziness, balance issues, vision issues, chronic headaches, or any of the other problems associated with a traumatic brain injury, you should seek a second opinion. Be clear; ask the doctor – do I have post concussive syndrome or a traumatic brain injury.
HMO vs. PPO
Depending whether you have a PPO or HMO may play a role in how easy it is for you to ask for a new doctor.
If you have a PPO, you just go to the new doctor, and expect to pay a fee if the doctor is out of network.
IF you have an HMO, it depends what type of doctor you want to replace. To get a new primary doctor is going to be very difficult. If this is the case, the easiest way to get a new primary doctor is by calling your HMO provider and asking them nicely for a new primary doctor.
If you have an HMO, and you seek to have a new specialist doctor, you need to talk to your primary care doctor and ask him or her to get a second opinion. The primary care doctor will refer you to another of the same type of doctor in network.
*Disclaimer: This information is for informational purposes only. Only a doctor can accurately evaluate you; however this information hopefully will help you and your doctors make medical decisions about your semi-truck accident medical treatment.
Primary care for semi-truck injuries is crucial. The primary care doctor needs to understand the forces behind your accident. A car accident and a semi-truck accident are not the same thing. The primary care doctor needs to know that a semi-truck was involved in the collision. The semi-truck carries significantly more inertia, and the injuries from a semi-truck accident tend to be significantly more severe.
You will have one of two scenarios after a semi-truck accident. You will already have a primary care doctor, or you will not. We will address both of these situations in turn.
Picking a Primary Care Doctor to treat your Semi-Truck Injuries:
This is if you do not have a primary care doctor to treat your injuries. You will need to do a little bit of research, and pick a primary care doctor. There are a few things that you should consider before you pick this doctor.
A primary care doctor is the doctor that will know everything about you. He will treat you for everything from the common cold to complicated issues such as joint pain or memory loss. This doctor will manage all of your symptoms, and help you find the correct specialists. A good primary care doctor is often the most important piece on the road to a meaningful recovery.
5 basic tips for picking a primary care doctor:
1. Location, location, location. This doctor will be your primary doctor. You do not want to have a primary care doctor that is located more than 20 minutes away. If so, you will be discouraged from going to doctor’s appointments. Not attending doctors’ appointments is not something that is good for your health in the long run.
2. Who are the doctors that are “In-Network”
Whether you have a PPO or an HMO, or some other form of insurance, your insurance provider will have a plan that prefers “in-network” doctors. For an HMO, your primary care doctor can ONLY be an in-network doctor, whereas if you have a PPO, it will just be significantly cheaper to have a primary care doctor who is “in-network.”
3. Check on your potential doctors credentials.
Doctor’s do not really have rating systems (healthgrades and other rating sites are terrible at rating doctors). Doctors have specializations and tests that are called “Boards.” If you want a doctor that is at the top of his or her game, you want to have a primary care doctor that is board certified. More importantly possibly a few board certifications, or board certifications in an area that is important to you. Board certifications are some of the most rigorous testing doctors can go through.
4. Ask other doctors.
The best professions to tell you what doctors are talented vs. not talented are other doctors. Doctors know which docs are excellent, and which ones are mediocre. If you do not have a doctor to ask, a lawyer who practices injury law will also know the best (and worst) doctors.
5. Make sure the doctor does not plan to retire soon.
You want this doctor for the rest of your life, if possible. You do not want to have to switch in a few years. Make sure the doctor is planning on being around for a while.
Examples of a differing diagnosis are as follow:
If a patient complains of head pain after a car accident, a doctor my rule out any type of head injury, and may not even order an MRI or CT scan.
If a patient complains of head pain after a semi-truck accident, a doctor should not rule out a head injury, or possibly a traumatic brain injury. This is because the forces involved in the accident are orders of magnitude higher than a similar speed car accident.
After a semi-truck accident, getting to the proper specialists does make all the difference. Patients who understand that treatment is a process, and having an excellent specialist guide the way – make significantly more progress than those who do not find the right medical specialists.
Here are a few symptoms that you should not regard as medical advice, but should consider for what questions you might want to ask.
Here is what no doctors will ever tell you:
If you do not report your symptoms to your primary care doctor, you will never get the proper treatment. Further, even if you report proper symptoms to your primary care doctor it is often difficult to get you to the correct specialist.
Why is this?
Insurance is a corporate business. The goal of insurance is: Provide only the level of treatment that is required to not hurt our marketing to new customers. The goal is not to provide great care.
Insurance has a corporate mindset. Their goal is to make money. Insurance calls paying for medical treatment “a loss.” If a patient has serious medical bills, that patient is a serious “loss” for insurance.
Therefore, insurance companies regularly deny attempts to see specialists, as a result of a semi-truck accident. Here is some language that you can use, to help you to get see the specialist that you need to see.
If you have a head injury, you may have some or all of the following symptoms:
Always tired/sleepy, regardless if you just woke up.
Short fuse (things frustrate you easier than before)
These are all symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. This is one of the most common, yet serious conditions as a result of a semi-truck accident.
The specialists you need to see: Neurologist, neuropsychologist, neurosurgeon, and/or speech pathologist (they work with the way the mind communicates)
Pain/tingling in your arms or hands.
Often after a semi-truck accident, there will be pain in the arms and/or hands. The sensations will be intermittent, and not constant. There will be jolts of numbness and sometimes pain.
These types of symptoms are not related to any damage with your arms or hands. Rather these types of symptoms indicate that you damaged the discs in your neck.
There are disks that are in between the vertebrae of your neck. These are jelly like structures. When significant force is involved in an collision, these jelly like discs will get harmed, and then bulge or protrude out of place. Unfortunately the discs often will bulge into the spinal cord nerves, and then affect the arms and hands.
The good news is often this can be corrected with proper medical treatment.
The specialist that you need to see is someone who focuses on the neck, and possibly an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in microdiscectomies.