As a personal injury attorney, you want the best for your clients—not only when it comes to the outcome of their case, but also with regard to their overall welfare. When your clients’ injuries involve the spine or serious damage to the back, placing them in the care of the right orthopedic spine surgeon can mean the difference between a case that’s won or lost—and more importantly, a client who receives the proper treatment and one who experiences prolonged suffering.
With their wellbeing in your hands, choosing the right surgeon is not a task that should be taken lightly—nor is it something that should prove overly complicated. To help you narrow down your options and select the right specialist for your client, I’ve outlined a series of questions to guide your decision process.
Five questions to ask an orthopedic spine surgeon on your client’s behalf in a personal injury case:
What is your experience in treating this type of injury?
This seems like an obvious question—and it is. But you’ll want to dive in a bit more to really understand their approach to treatment. For example, how many surgeries does the surgeon do in treating this type of injury? A surgeon who does one per week, vs. one per month, will be a better option. And of course, the last thing you want is someone who only does IMEs and never picks up a knife. On the flip side, be wary of a practitioner who rushes straight into surgery without taking the time to complete a full evaluation and explore all treatment options.
Do you provide a continuum of care from initial evaluation through follow-up and throughout the duration of the legal process?
A surgeon’s job is not done when he or she leaves the operating room—at least, not the good ones. Your client deserves and needs a provider who offers follow-up care, accompanies him or her through the healing process and offers ongoing guidance as needed to support the personal injury case.
What is your availability?
Look for a specialist who not only gets your patient in and evaluated quickly, but who is flexible enough to work within the parameters of your case and the patient’s treatment needs. A surgeon who is willing to take action on short notice should jump to the top of your list.
How quickly can you deliver reports?
Your client doesn’t want or need an unresponsive surgeon, nor do you. Ultimately, you want a surgeon who places a high value on responsiveness. Look for someone who can deliver reports within 72 hours—ideally closer to 48 hours.
Are you willing to complete depositions and go to court?
You can have a surgeon who is highly skilled in the operating room with impeccable bedside manner—but if he or she is uncooperative with the documentation required for the case or unwilling to go to court, it’s not the right surgeon for you or your client. The surgeon you select should be able to offer a detailed description of the problem, relate causality from the injury to the medical condition and expertly show the damages—not just in the examining room or on paper, but in person, in court.
A final thought:
While a specific treatment option (e.g. surgery) may look better for your case, ultimately, you want a provider who will offer recommendations based on the patient’s condition and not what is best for the case. Look for a surgeon who is willing to tell it to you straight, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to hear.
Do you have a client who has suffered a back or spinal injury? At Englewood Spine Associates, we actively partner with personal injury lawyers to provide their clients with the very best options for spinal care and surgery—and we’d be happy to help you and your client address your current needs!