(How not to get roasted)
I would first begin this blog by separating Auto Accident Success into two main headings:
- Car Accident Treatment Success
- Auto Accident Settlement Success
CAR ACCIDENT TREATMENT SUCCESS
What you SHOULD do if you want your injuries fully healed:
First, it’s extremely important to go and get checked and treated right away right after you have a car accident injury. The earlier the treatments, the faster the recovery. This is especially important in automobile accident injuries because of the inflammation that builds up after your neck or back has been violently thrown forward or backward or side-to-side straining ligaments, tendons, muscles, and other body parts. Our bodies are smart, and inflammation is a way to slow circulation to an area and thereby reduce internal bleeding, which can cause a whole other set of problems. There are also inflammatory exudates that are helpful in the initial stages of healing. However, inflammation also slows the healing process and can be very painful and uncomfortable. Treatments such as cryotherapy, electrical muscle stimulation, or ultrasound therapy can quickly help with reducing pain as well as these inflammation processes and can take weeks off your healing time if applied early… within 1 to 2 days after an accident.
It’s also important to continue with treatments under the care of a qualified professional to ensure that 100% healing occurs. In later phases of healing, your body will tend to lay down fibrotic adhesions and micro-scar tissue within areas where the original injuries occur. These adhesions can end up restricting motion of joints and body parts, prolong pain during movement, and lead to early-onset of arthritis as improper movements of joints persist over time. Part of treatment to reduce scar tissue build-up are things such as chiropractic manipulation, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and stretching and exercise. Just to name a few. For this reason, the advice to ‘go home and rest’, or ‘stay in bed’, are very poor for good clinical outcomes, especially when coupled with no therapeutic intervention. There’s a fine line between doing too little and too much when trying to heal from an auto accident injury. Following a car accident, some people try to go back to the gym immediately following an accident thinking that if they just “strengthen” the injured areas that they will do better. Usually this ends up resulting in further damage to the injured site, longer healing time, and prevention of full recovery.
Proper car accident injury treatments can’t be overstated. I have seen both ends of the spectrum, meaning, people who ignore their pain injuries or continue with competitive sports or extreme exercise immediately following an auto accident. Both of these attitudes are detrimental to the success of your healing capability. Then there are those, who go to paraprofessionals for their treatment without getting an accurate diagnosis. This includes people who go to their massage therapist, or energy healer, both of which are great parts of the healing equation, but lack the ability to get primary diagnoses that may be hidden from their background and understanding. Treatment without proper diagnosis is like running a marathon without knowing the path. You may cover a lot of ground, but end up very far from the finish line in the end.
Professional car accident injury treatment facilities will always begin with not only a detailed and comprehensive examination of the injured body regions, but will advise a treatment plan for your best recovery. These treatment plans also should include regular re-examinations to give slight variations to the treatment protocols that are appropriate for the stage of healing that you are in. Every auto accident injury should be treated uniquely based on the clinical presentation and examination findings of the professional you seek care from. Following an initial examination, proper imaging studies should always be obtained for the injured regions beginning with x-ray. This information is vital to discover the health of the many joints involved with spinal injury or other injured areas. If necessary, your professional may order an MRI to gather more detail on the extent of injuries. This type of testing should not be ignored simply because someone doesn’t feel like it or is concerned about the cost. The cost of an MRI pales in comparison to a lifetime of pain from an injury that has gone undetected!
Once the full extent of injury has been discovered, it’s very important to involve other healthcare professionals in the management of your chair. Serious injury many times will need more than a simple pill, injection, or adjustment. Many cases require a combination of the natural healing arts as well as medical and even surgical intervention. You can always make your best healthcare decisions when you have more information from various points of view. Regardless of who’s care you are under, always keep in mind that there are major forces involved in car accident injuries and most cases require approximately 4 months of treatment to fully resolve. If you are not keeping appointments as prescribed or following the treatment plan is laid out by your healthcare professional, your healing will be less than desirable.
Lastly, follow through with your homework. If your provider says to rest, then rest. If your provider says use ice 3 times a day at home, use ice 3 times a day at home. If your provider says stretch or exercise, then do it. Compliance with prescribed care is huge. Please understand that I’m not telling you to blindly follow what your doctor says if you have concerns or questions. Hopefully you have chosen a provider who is always willing to discuss alternates. Your provider may agree or disagree with but this just brings me back to the earlier point that best outcomes are achieved by following the plan that you agree to follow.
AUTO ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT SUCCESS
What you SHOULD do to receive fair compensation.
Settlement of a car accident is the legal way that insurance companies rid themselves of continued responsibility for injuries sustained by their insured in a automobile accident. When a case settles, the insurance company will pay the accident victim a sum of money and require that the victim then release them from all future responsibility for that accident. Settlements are negotiable. This is no different than negotiating any other transaction. The victims are trying to get what is fair, or in some cases, as much as possible. The insurance company is trying to spend as little as they can. As you can imagine, these negotiations sometimes become intense. There are major trust issues between some insurance adjustors and doctors. Because of these trust issues, it is extremely important that serious injuries are well documented by objective tests such as imaging studies or physical exam.
Sadly, because of mistrust, insurance companies rarely believe physical examination findings unless they are performed by more than one doctor or backed up by imaging, such as MRI, proving the same findings.
If you put yourself in the shoes of an insurance adjuster, the only tools they have to make a judgment call on how injured a car accident victim may be is the reports that they receive from various doctors and healthcare facilities. Therefore, if someone gets in a car accident and then does not go to the hospital or treat with any of the doctors for an extended period of time, the adjuster will probably think that they are not injured very badly. By the same token, if a person does see a doctor but then does not follow through with any treatments or only shows up on rare occasion for their prescribed appointments, the adjuster will again think that the injury is not severe. When an insurance adjuster doesn’t think that injury is severe they are less inclined to pay much (or any) on a case.
For the reasons above, if you have been injured in a car accident, it is very important to get thoroughly checked right away. This should include imaging studies and physical examination findings. If you are in a competent provider’s office, a treatment program will be prescribed and there will be follow-up re-examinations over weeks or months depending on the severity of your injury and how long it takes to recover. As you can imagine, the worse a person is injured, the higher the settlement. As I’ve mentioned before, the proof of injuries must be documented. Poorly documented injuries come from incomplete examination, like it imaging studies, or someone going to a unqualified practitioner. The sad truth is, I have met many individuals who, when involved in a car accident many years previous, never were diagnosed correctly and are now suffering with ongoing degenerative arthritic conditions stemming from an accident that they or their doctor thought wasn’t very serious at the time the accident occurred.
After your initial visit to a chiropractor or other physician, imaging studies have been performed, now it is time to follow through with the treatment plan as prescribed. Having a 2nd opinion from someone who agrees with your primary treating physician is always a good idea. If your primary doctor hasn’t referred to anyone else, ask them to. Getting early treatment, following through with scheduled appointments, documented injuries on imaging studies or other tests, all show the insurance adjuster that not only are you injured, but that you are motivated to get well.
As a side note, many insurance adjusters believe that if there is minimal damage to a vehicle, that there is minimal damage to your body. Nothing can be further from the truth in some cases. Think about it, cars are made of heavy metal frames held together by nuts and bolts… You are not. Here in lies the importance of going to a professional whose expertise is in auto accident injury care. Injuries can and do occur in minor impacts, but again, you still have to prove it to someone who may be skeptical and they don’t feel what you feel. It’s true that most insurance adjusters believe someone is injured when a car is smashed severely, but since the converse can be true also, go get checked any way if you have pain following a “small” accident.
In summary, car accident injuries are many and diverse in severity. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about injuries you may have suffered in an automobile accident or questions about the settlement process. We help many patients find good attorneys to work with which is also very important for good settlement of your personal injury case.