Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, I’m sure you have discovered it is not easy to get the medical care that you feel you need. Many physicians do not take car insurance and are reluctant to wait for a legal suit to settle to get paid.
Before you are treated for a car accident, there are certain things you need to do. Report the accident, talk to your insurance company, and get medical care if you need it. If you end up calling an attorney, there are some things you need to be aware of…… Personal Injury Protection– Part of your car insurance is the Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This the money available to you to seek help for any injury you may suffer. There is a limited amount of this money available (usually $10,000 but depending on severity of injuries). It can also be used for lost wages. You must see someone medical for the accident (ER, Chiropractor, Primary Care Physician) within 14 days of the accident, to use your PIP insurance. If you do not, you forfeit this insurance.
Letters of Protection – If you haveexhausted all your automobile benefits (PIP), almost everyone who treats you after a car accident will ask for a Letter of Protection (LOP). This is a contract between you and your providers. It can be written by the provider or by your attorney. To summarize the agreement, your Doctor’s agree not to bill you until your disagreement with the other party has come to a conclusion, and there is a financial settlement. What it does, is guarantee that your providers will get paid out of any settlement before you do. It is very important for you and your attorney to keep track of how many LOP’s you have out and what the charges are associated to each one. If there is not enough settlement to cover your bills, your Doctors can ask you to pay for the difference.
Watch Your Bills–
Things add up fast in the medical world and nothing is free. Make sure your attorney is aware of the LOP’s you have signed, and the amount you are spending on Chiropractic care, physical therapy and testing such as x-rays and MRI’s. Evaluate whether the treatment you are receiving is actually helping you. “Reasonable and necessary” are two words to add to your vocabulary.
Don’t lie to your Doctors – If you had a disc herniation in the past, they will find out about it. If you had surgery in the past, there is a record of it somewhere. Remember it is always easier to remember the truth.
If you get better after surgery, say it – If the surgery got rid of your pain, the right surgery was done and it was necessary. If you say you still have pain and discomfort, the concern may be that the surgery was not related to the accident, or effective.
Watch the Drugs–
We cannot stress enough the need to be careful with the pain medications (hydrocodone, Percocet etc.) when taking them. They are highly addictive and can leave you with a much bigger problem than you started with. Muscle relaxers are also addictive and should only be used for acute spasm.
ShimSpine is happy to see accident patients and if requested, will write a comprehensive note on the probable cause of injury, and if the patient needs surgery. Dr. Shim has privileges with several local hospitals/ surgery centers that will also see MVA patients, and will discuss surgical treatments if indicated.
- Hertzum-Larsen R, Petersen H, Kasch H, Bendix T. Do X-ray-occult fractures play a role in chronic pain following a whiplash injury? Eur Spine J. 2014 Aug;23(8):1673-9. PubMed PMID: 24866255