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How to get a head-to-toe assessment.

What your doctor may not know.

Why do I need this?

If your injuries are not fully documented, then you might have a non-minor injury that’s overlooked, and miss out on compensation you’re entitled to. The only way to make sure your injuries are fully documented, and nothing is overlooked, is to get a full head to toe assessment. In other words, start at the top of your head and work your way down to the tip of your toes, making note of any aches, pains, injuries or scars. We’ve created a head to toe assessment checklist to help you with you document your injuries.

How do I go about it?

You’ll need to be assessed by a GP who will provide an opinion on whether your injuries are minor or non-minor. The problem is, the GP is likely to be more focussed on helping you recover, and may not realise the implications of missing something critical on your assessment. However, if you understand the process, you can take a more active part in your assessment and make sure nothing’s missed.

Here’s a simple explanation of how it works.

First, starting with your head, write the answers to all of these questions:

  1. Have you had any pain anywhere on your head?
  2. Do you have any cuts or lacerations?
  3. Any hearing loss?
  4. Has your speech been affected?
  5. Has your memory been affected?
  6. Have you lost any teeth?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, move on to your neck, shoulders, back, arms and so on. Remember to also consider intermittent symptoms, such as arthritic pain, that may have developed since the accident.

What am I looking for?

The biggest mistake that can be made in a medical assessment is simply focussing only on the most obvious injury. Take for example a knee injury from an accident. A knee injury often leads to a limp, which can cause hip and back problems over time as you over-compensate for the sore knee. So if the medical assessment focussed only on the knee, the hip and back problems that have also resulted from the accident injury might be overlooked.

How relevant are psychological injuries?

The simple answer is – very relevant. Some psychological or psychiatric injuries such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are considered non-minor, so it’s extremely important they’re not overlooked in your assessment.

Here are some questions a medical professional might ask in order to determine if you’re suffering psychological or psychiatric injuries:

  • In the last 7 days, have you had any reminder of the accident which brought back feelings about it?
  • Have any other things kept making you think about the accident?
  • Do you feel irritable and angry?
  • Have you avoided letting yourself get upset when you thought or were reminded of the accident?
  • Have you had trouble sleeping since the accident?
  • Have you thought about the accident but didn’t mean to?
  • Have you felt as though the accident hadn’t happened or wasn’t real?
  • Have you tried to stay away from reminders of the accident?

If you feel like you’re suffering psychological or psychiatric injuries, it’s important to seek professional advice, and make sure the diagnosis is noted in your medical assessment.

 

The only way to make sure your injuries are fully documented, and nothing is overlooked, is by getting a full head to toe assessment.

What do I do next?

  • Start by doing your own head-to-toe assessment using our checklist, and writing down all of your injuries before you attend your medical assessment with your GP.

  • Remember that you GP is likely to be focussed on your accident injury and how to help you feel better, not maximising your compensation claim. So take an active part on your assessment.

  • If you’re not sure what to do you can call our assistance line for help – it’s a free service.

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