If you’ve ever been in an auto accident (and statistics say you have), you don’t need us to tell you that it’s common to wonder when you should seek medical attention. After all, the most common injuries sustained in a car accident may not be felt until a day or two later. This auto accident FAQ answers your most common questions about whether to see a chiropractor, insurance coverage for chiropractic care, and whether a chiropractor’s testimony will hold up in court.
We always recommend accident victims seek medical treatment immediately following an auto accident, preferably at an emergency room. ER doctors have the tools and equipment necessary to diagnose acute trauma. What’s more, you can receive treatment for your injuries immediately. In other words, you don’t need an appointment to go to the emergency room.
If you don’t require emergency medical treatment, you then face the choice between visiting your primary doctor or an auto accident injury chiropractor. Medical doctors treat a variety of medical conditions and help their patients maintain their general health and wellness. Chiropractors specialize in diagnosing and treating issues that affect the spine and musculoskeletal system.
After an auto accident, medical doctors often refer patients to a chiropractor to diagnose a condition like whiplash or to treat back and neck pain. But you can also schedule an appointment with a chiropractor without first visiting your primary care doctor. That saves you the waiting time to get into the doctor, the copay for a doctor visit, and gets you back to feeling like your old self more quickly.
Assuming there weren’t any injuries that require immediate medical attention, you should see a chiropractor as soon as possible after an accident. Even if you have no obvious spinal or musculoskeletal system injuries, visiting a chiropractor who has experience in treating auto accident injuries can save you from issues surfacing later and/or becoming more serious. In addition, the sooner your chiropractor performs a physical exam and x-rays, the stronger your case will be if it ever goes to court. For example, if you wait a week, the insurance company’s attorney will question whether your injuries are the result of the accident or something that happened later.
Since you may sustain injuries even in a low-speed accident (think 10 miles per hour), your chiropractic visit should begin with a comprehensive physical and medical history. The chiropractor will gently manipulate your spine and muscles to diagnose sprains, impaired range of motion, whiplash, or other issues.
The sudden, dramatic movements your body experiences during a car accident may cause a variety of soft tissue injuries. Some of these, such as microscopic tears in muscles or ligaments, will not show up on an x-ray. Spinal manipulation, an integral part of chiropractic care, causes your body to release a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called interleukin-6 (IL-6). Increased IL-6 production promotes your body’s natural healing properties, including the production of osteoclasts, which speeds bone tissue growth and healing.
Receiving chiropractic care after an auto accident reduces your risk of developing long-term or chronic conditions. Chiropractic treatments are effective in treating a wide range of musculoskeletal issues. Patients with minor injuries tend to recover more quickly than they do with medical treatment and usually without needing dangerous, highly-addictive pain medications.
These days, most health insurance companies cover chiropractic care. Even Medicare began covering chiropractic treatment as part of its efforts to stop the opioid epidemic.
If you do not have medical insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid (which also covers chiropractic care), your auto insurance policy likely includes coverage for chiropractic treatment following an automobile accident. The same is true for the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Still not sure? Give us a call and we will talk to your insurance company to determine whether you’re covered.
Chiropractors are often called as expert witnesses in the rare instances that an auto accident case winds up in court. (Most accident cases are settled outside of court.)
Much comes down to the members of the jury, the individual case, and the patient’s own actions immediately following the accident. For example, if you told the insurance company you were not injured right after the accident, but a few days later you began experiencing the pain of whiplash, that early statement will come up in court. This is the main reason medical doctors, chiropractors, and especially lawyers advise accident victims to be careful in what they say to their – or the other driver’s – insurance provider. As they say on TV, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law – even if you’re just talking to the friendly lady who handled your accident claim.
Obtaining a copy of your police report is critical for your insurance and legal matters. It’s also a good idea that you review your police report to ensure that all of the information is correct and nothing was omitted or wrongly added.
To obtain a copy of your police report, please fill out the form below and AZ Crash Doctors will send you a copy free of charge with no obligations.