One moment everything may seem fine, when suddenly you’re involved in a serious collision. Most people have one thing on their mind after a car accident their car! However, it’s important to remember that you and your injuries come first. A visit to a chiropractor should always follow an auto injury, as chiropractors are specialists in damage to soft and hard tissue.
How Can a Chiropractor Help Me After My Auto Accident?
Chiropractors are able to treat neck and back injuries associated with auto accidents. Many times, individuals who have been injured in a car accident experience such intense muscle pain and stiffness that they simply cannot function normally. When left untreated, this discomfort can be a serious issue.
After an auto accident, some individuals experience indicators of whiplash injuries right away, such as blurred vision, headaches, shoulder pain, dizziness, reduced range of motion and arm pain. Whiplash can also result in minor back injuries, muscle injuries, ligament problems, and disc damage. Other individuals may be injured and feel nothing at all.
Treating pain or whiplash should never be secondary to bringing your car at the mechanic or working with your insurance company. If you’ve had an auto accident recently, your first priority should be taking the initiative to visit your chiropractor!
What Should I Do After a Collision?
1. No recorded statements. Do not give permission to any insurance adjuster to record any conversation. Many former claims adjusters and claims managers can tell you from experience that an adjuster’s job is to gather information to deny your claim. If the adjuster’s policyholder caused the crash, his/her job is to gather any information that minimizes or reduces your injuries so the insurance company can pay less.
IMPORTANT: Claims adjusters’ salaries and bonuses are based upon paying claims within a range that a proprietary computer program (Colossus) thanks your injuries are worth. They ugly truth—there is a 95% chance that a computer program will evaluate your harms and losses—not a human being.
2. Do not sign any documents from any insurance corporations. In Colorado, a claimant does not have to sign a medical release for the insurance to process a claim. Also in most car crashes, you have three years from the date of the crash to file a claim. Contact us so we may confirm exactly how long you have to file your claim.
3. Gather important records. Obtain the complete police, ambulance, and fire reports, as well as any emergency room records and imaging studies (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, DMX, etc).
4. Take photographs (preferably digital black & white) of your car. Tell your repair shop to document and outline in writing all undercarriage damage. Note: the insurance company’s claims adjusting software will value your case differently when car damage is less than $1,000.
5. Be the honest squeaky wheel. If you have physical pain, or are experiencing any mental, emotional, or cognitive issues, inform your care provider. The claims adjusting software will only consider what is written down in your medical records.
6. Attend your medical appointments. Seek out and get the treatment that you need. Don’t miss your medical appointments and get recommended treatment to help in your recovery.
7. Keep track of out-of-pocket expenses. Many of the incidental costs you incur, such as co-pays and prescriptions, may be reimbursed.
8. Insurance policies. Gather your personal insurance policies, as well as any insurance policies of any relatives living with you at the time of the crash.
9. Be an educated consumer. Educate yourself on how trial attorneys can help. Our law office offers free consultations. You deserve to know your rights, how your claim will be evaluated, and how/if a trial attorney may be able to help you in your recovery. After a car crash, no individual should have to fight an insurance company for reasonable payment of medical bills, future medical care, and the return to a normal life.
Med Pay Insurance 101
Insurance is essential to our society. Insurance is a fully-funded social device used to spread risk when losses occur to help people who are in need. Insurance is intangible--you buy good service and peace of mind when you pay insurance premiums. If you elected for this additional coverage, your insurance company is committed to helping you by promptly providing you with Med Pay benefits. Many policyholders choose to pay additional premiums just to have this added level of coverage. Use the added benefits of Med Pay to obtain the necessary chiropractic care to restore your health after a wreck.
1. Premiums- You already paid for the Med Pay insurance protection (if you opted for this coverage) with your monthly or yearly premiums. You should take advantage of the insurance you bought.
2. Optional- You could have rejected Med Pay as Colorado does not require drivers to buy this optional insurance. However, you purchased Med Pay insurance to protect you, so why not utilize the additional insurance?
3. Won’t Increase Your Rates- Making a Med Pay claim and receiving your benefits will not increase your insurance rates if you were not at fault in the wreck. The Colorado Division of Insurance Reg. Section 5-2-12, 5 (B.) (2.) (a) states that an insurance company cannot increase insurance rates when you or your chiropractor files a Med Pay claim and obtains your Med Pay insurance benefits. Benefits may only be used to pay your health care providers.
4. Available Even if You are At-Fault for the Wreck – Regardless of who was at fault in the wreck, you have Med Pay insurance benefits available to you (if you opted for this additional coverage). If you were at fault for the crash, your insurance company has the ability to raise your rates; fortunately there are a lot of insurance corporations from which to choose.
How to Help Your Treating Providers Help You
1.) Never exaggerate your symptoms. While it is important for your doctors to have a clear understanding of your pain level, and relate all your symptoms to the crash, many injured people believe (consciously or unconsciously) that they must exaggerate their symptoms to be believed. Clients are under the defense microscope until the case is over. The jury will forgive almost anything, but not lying or exaggeration – especially when the insurance “malingering defense” is used by the at-fault driver’s insurance corporation.
2.) Regarding the details of the crash, unless you are 100% certain, do not speculate. An example would be guessing how fast you or the other driver was traveling at the time of crash. If any medical provider asks you for details surrounding the crash (time, speed, distances, etc.), be careful to avoid specifics unless you are 100% certain. The goal is to avoid the medical provider documenting inaccurate facts in your medical records which could then be used against you at some point in your case.
3.) If your treating provider DOES ask about your prior medical history, you must be truthful. Insurance companies track all claims filed with all insurance companies from uncovering your previous claims by withholding information about prior injuries from your doctor or lawyer. In fact, they will know when and where you were injured, the type of injury, and the settlement you received, etc. The companies wait for injury victims to lie under oath about prior injuries, and then confront them with the truth at trial. Such a lie is far more damaging to your case than admitting the prior injuries honestly and up-front.
4.) Unless absolutely necessary, avoid telling your providers that another incident or event may have caused or exacerbated your condition or injuries. Telling the truth is paramount, but if you suffered a relatively minor incident such as bumping your head while standing up on an airplane, tapping your head on a cupboard at home, etc., avoid telling your doctors that if re-injured your car crash injuries. In other words, avoid self-diagnosing. Treat separate injuries as separate and apart from the injuries you sustained in the crash. Insurance defense attorneys will spin the statements you make to your care providers and blame everything on this other minor incident.
5.) If you are having a good day, avoid making general statements that could be construed as your back to pre-crash status. For example, “the crash isn’t affecting my life that much;” AVOID minimizing your injuries and symptoms.
6.) Avoid any suggestion that you or someone in your car may have been responsible for the crash. You are speculating, and speculation should be avoided.
7.) NEVER tell any provider that your attorney referred you to them for treatment. They do not make medical referrals, but can give general guidance.
8.) Do not discuss your legal case with any provider unless asked a specific question. You do not want to create any impression that you are getting treatment to help your case, or cause your provider to think you are overly focused on your legal case. Your only job is to heal and get better.
Please follow this link for our printable Auto Injury Intake paperwork. Please contact the office at 970.266.0003 to schedule your initial exam or for any questions!