What You Need to Communicate to Your Doctor About Your Accident and Injuries

When you sustain an injury in an accident, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for both your health and potential workers’ compensation claim. It is important to remember that your doctor plays a vital role not only in diagnosing and treating your injuries but also in documenting them for legal purposes. Effective communication with your healthcare provider is key to ensuring accurate and comprehensive medical records that support your workers’ compensation case in Virginia. In this article, we will discuss what you should tell your doctor about your accident and injuries, so you can receive appropriate medical care and strengthen your claim.

Provide a Clear and Detailed Account of the Accident

Begin by explaining the details of the accident to your doctor, leaving no room for ambiguity. It is crucial to provide an accurate account of what happened, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and any contributing factors. This information helps your doctor understand the nature and potential causes of your injuries.

For instance, if you slipped and fell at work due to a freshly mopped floor without proper signage, mention these specific details to your doctor. This allows them to document not only the slip and fall but also the negligent conditions that led to the incident, potentially supporting a claim under Virginia Code §65.2-306 for benefits related to employer negligence.

Describe Your Injuries and Symptoms in Detail

To ensure your doctor gets an accurate understanding of your injuries, describe them in detail. Explain the type and intensity of pain you are experiencing, any limitations on your ability to move or carry out activities, and the impact your injuries have on your daily life and work. Additionally, mention any immediate symptoms you noticed after the accident, even if they seem minor.

Virginia law recognizes that an injury may not always manifest immediately after an accident. According to Virginia Code §65.2-400, an employee must notify their employer within 30 days of a workplace accident or injury. However, if symptoms appear or worsen over time, you must advise your doctor of these changes so they can accurately diagnose and treat your condition while correlating it to the accident.

Discuss Any Pre-Existing Conditions or Injuries

It is essential to be upfront with your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries that may have been affected by the accident. By providing this information, you ensure a complete and accurate medical record. Not disclosing pre-existing conditions may harm your credibility and affect the assessment of your claim.

Moreover, Virginia follows the “aggravation rule,” which means if a work-related accident aggravates or worsens a pre-existing condition, it may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. According to Virginia Code §65.2-502, if an employee can prove the aggravation is a direct result of their work, workers’ compensation benefits may cover the worsened condition.

Be Honest and Consistent

Honesty and consistency in your statements about the accident and injuries to your doctor are critical. Providing inconsistent information or exaggerating your symptoms can lead to credibility issues that can harm your workers’ compensation claim. Explain what you genuinely feel and the impact your injuries have on your life.

Furthermore, if your condition changes or new information arises, it is crucial to inform your doctor. Any updates can be included in your medical record and may be important in supporting your claim in the future.

Follow Your Doctor’s Advice and Treatment Plan

Complying with your doctor’s advice and treatment plan is not only vital for your recovery but also strengthens your workers’ compensation claim. If you fail to follow prescribed treatments or disregard recommendations, it may create doubt about the legitimacy or severity of your injuries.

According to Virginia Code §65.2-601, if an employee refuses reasonable medical treatment, it may limit or deny their entitlement to benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to cooperate with your healthcare provider, attend appointments, follow through with recommended therapies and medications, and notify your doctor of any difficulties or adverse reactions to the treatment.

Keeping an Accurate Personal Record

In addition to your medical records, maintain your own detailed personal record. Document your symptoms, limitations, ongoing treatments, prescribed medications, and any changes in your condition. This record can serve as supplemental evidence for your case and facilitate discussions with your attorney.

Remember, workers’ compensation claims may involve complex legal procedures and require proper documentation. Consulting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Virginia can provide you with the guidance and advocacy needed to navigate the process successfully.


When discussing your accident and injuries with your doctor, open and clear communication is vital. Accurate and comprehensive medical records play a pivotal role in strengthening your workers’ compensation claim in Virginia. By providing a precise account of the accident, describing your injuries and symptoms in detail, discussing pre-existing conditions, remaining honest and consistent, and following your doctor’s advice, you ensure that your medical record supports your claim. Remember, seeking the guidance of a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can further enhance your chances of obtaining the benefits you deserve under Virginia law.