Initial Consultation & Subsequent Treatment
Interviewer: That is difficult. When someone thinks that they may have a case, is there any information they should gather or things they should do help prepare to ensure they may have a viable case?
Charles Price: They should keep track, of course, of all of the records and instructions and other paperwork that they have in relation to their medical treatment. If there is a conversation that occurs, for example, with a doctor who may have done something wrong and the doctor, for example, apologizes or offers some sort of explanation for what happened, then they should memorialize that in some way so they can remember it and refer to it later.
Similarly, a patient may go to what we call a subsequent doctor. Let’s say Dr. A, an orthopedic surgeon, operates on your arm and cuts a nerve. Then they go get a second opinion and Dr. B says, “My god, that nerve should never have been cut. I don’t know what that doctor was thinking.” Again, the client should memorialize that conversation in some way and bring it to the lawyer’s attention.
Let me also say is that photographs are very important. People often don’t realize how valuable photographs are and how easy they are to take now with cell phones, but I’ve had clients with, for example, burns that they suffer in an operating room. They call me three or four months later and the burn has completely healed and they will tell me that it looked horrible and that it was blistered and it was this and that. I’ll be like, “Did you take any pictures?” They will be like, “No.” There are certain ways that people can record information in a contemporaneous way that would be helpful to the lawyer.
Interviewer: That all makes sense. Do you find that people tend to go for additional medical care after they feel they have been injured by someone else?
Charles Price: No, not really. I always tell my clients that your medical condition is what dictates your course of treatment. The case never dictates the course of treatment. You never engage in a course of treatment that wouldn’t otherwise be necessary or that you wouldn’t otherwise engage in just because you have a case. Really, the conditions that the patient suffers from are what drive the subsequent treatment.