Should Your Lawyer Be In Charge of Your Medical Treatment?
What's NOT okay:
- For your lawyer to cherry pick your doctor for you because the doctor will say what it takes for you to win your case.
- For your lawyer to instruct you hide the fact of the referral at your deposition.
Why? First, jurors are very suspicious of lawyers and doctors who have close referral relationships. They are suspicious of injured claimants and their lawyers to begin with, so if they hear that your lawyer always refers clients to one particular doctor, your credibilitiy - and likely your case - go down the tubes.
Secondly, you should run as fast as possible from any lawyer who encourages you to lie under oath. An experienced Virginia lawyer was disbarred because he told his clients to lie at deposition about the fact that he referred them to his favorite chiropractor.
Third, although you may not know that your lawyer always refers clients to a certain doctor, you can be sure that the insurance company will know or will find out. Who do you think the jury will believe?
What MAY BE okay:
- If you have a special need for a doctor with a specialized expertise. It may be legitimate for your lawyer to suggest someone who can help you. But beware if the lawyer always send clients to the same chiropractor or orthopedist.
Ask questions so you fully understand the business relationship between the lawyer and the doctor.The doctor may be perfectly competent to treat you. That is not the problem here. The problem arises if the relationship between the doctor and lawyer looks fishy.
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