The Client-Patient Comes First!

Although doctors and lawyers handling an injury claim for a client-patient should always cooperate, disability income insurance claimants have a most pressing need for ongoing and speedy communication among their medical experts and attorneys. Disability income claims require medical reports that meet special standards and must be filed within strict time limits.

In view of these constraints, it is amazing how many doctors and lawyers can’t seem to get along.

It’s common knowledge that lawyers and doctors, as a class, generally don’t like each other. Each profession has had some bad experiences in dealing with the other, particularly in the area of medical malpractice lawsuits, but that’s no reason to shortchange a claimant-patient, locked in battle with an insurance company. By not helping each other to understand the important parts of a claimant’s case, shortchanging is exactly what the professionals may be doing to their client-patient’s disability income case

Does anyone doubt that the lawyers and doctors, working on the defense for the insurance company, coordinate their efforts to try to put their best foot forward for their client? Why shouldn’t a claimant’s doctors and lawyers be able to work together to present the best case for their client?

The basic problem seems to be that the claimant’s doctor and lawyer are not employed and paid by a single entity, as are the professionals hired by the insurer to defend against the claim. Without this unitary control exercised by the insurer, who is paying them, professionals are subject to their past experiences and prejudices and, sometimes, one profession finds it difficult to cooperate with the other.

It can reasonably argued that an attorney who has spent the best part of his or her professional life reading and interpreting insurance policy language and dealing with insurance companies, is best qualified to know what is important and necessary to include in a disability income claim submission to the insurer.

On the other hand, doctors are clearly best qualified to make medical and psychiatric findings and to produce the necessary medical reports required by insurance companies.

With the expertise of each profession clearly established, and both having the same client-patient, why shouldn’t they be able to work together to present their client-patient’s claim in the best light?

Both professionals should want to do the best for their client-patients. In actuality, they don’t many times, because they view the needs of the case from their own medical or legal standpoint only and do not understand the other profession’s view.

Doctors and lawyers seem to have no patience or inclination to take the time to understand or to trust the judgment of the other profession. Because of this, client-patients do not, in some cases, get the full benefit of the professional knowledge and experience they need

Both professions should understand that the other is busy and overwhelmed with paperwork. Extra time is not usually available to either. Any unnecessary request, one to the other, should be avoided.

But, in the interests of the client-patient, they must communicate. Mistakes or ambiguities in a medical record or report can be fatal to a disability income claim and leave a patient to face a handicapped future without income for the patient or the family.

The attorney must take the time to explain clearly to the doctor what questions the medical or psychiatric reports must answer to meet the requirements of the patient’s insurance policy.

If the lawyer and the doctor retained by the claimant to press his case before the insurer don’t do their jobs properly, who will do it?

If the doctor and the lawyer approach each other in a considerate, respectful manner, there should be no problem in doing their jobs for the client-patient in a professional way. If the doctor and lawyer approach each other with a chip on their shoulder, there is a big problem.

The disability insurance client-patient has enough problems dealing with the insurance company. That’s why the professionals were retained. It is incumbent upon them to drop the “attitude”, if any, and get on with the work they were hired for.










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