Unfortunately, studies show that most of us will be in an auto accident at some point in our lives. The only question remaining, is how bad will it be?
The following are important things to remember if you are involved in an auto accident:
1. Seek treatment as soon as possible.
If there is a chance you may be seriously hurt, you should go to the Emergency room at your local hospital. There they can rule out fractures and life threatening injuries.
2. If you are still experiencing pain and discomfort a few days to a couple weeks later, than you should come to our office to find out if you have any structural damage.
NOTE: The longer you wait after an accident to come to our office, typically the longer it takes to get you better.
3. Most auto insurance companies have what is called Med Pay. This means that your bills will be paid up to 100% up to a certain limit. Our office can check that for you.
4. If the accident was not your fault. The other party’s auto insurance should cover your health care expenses in our office. We do all of the paperwork for you.
5. At the accident scene, get as much information on the other driver or drivers as possible. An accident report by Police is always helpful, but not required to have a case.
6. You should never settle with an insurance company before you have had us evaluate your injury for you. If you settle before your injury is fully resolved, you will be completely on your own and will have to pay out of pocket for your care.
7. Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult after an auto accident. We have a number of reputable and highly qualified auto accident attorney who we can refer you to for a complimentary consultation. Hiring a reputable Attorney essentially takes you out of the direct bargaining process with the insurance company and all the paperwork and phone calls associated with that and lets you concentrate on healing.
8. Injuries sustained after a car accident if left untreated can lead to spinal degeneration and a host of other problems for years to come.
FINAL NOTE: We find that many people involved in an auto accident that WAS THEIR FAULT never get treatment.
This tends to be due to the fear that their insurance will go up after a claim is filed.
Your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is why you have auto insurance in the first place.
Many insurance companies will not raise your rates after 1 or even 2 accidents in the same year.
THE INJURIES SUSTAINED IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT CAN CAUSE A HOST OF PROBLEMS FOR YEARS TO COME, OR EVEN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO COME IN AND GET CHECKED.
Call our office today at (512)442.2727.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
The Texas Department of Insurance requires automobile insurance carriers in our state to issue all automobile policies it writes at least $2500 worth of coverage and you have this coverage unless you reject it in writing. Most people are unaware of this coverage or even know what it is and therefore very few people use it. You end up paying for coverage that they don’t inform you about and you’re entitled to.
Why? Insurance is not understood and most people rely on their agent and claims adjusters to advise them on what to do after an accident. Insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry and are in business to make money. They keep their costs down, less payout, more profits and bonuses at the end of the year. Good for them and not for you.
What is PIP?
PIP is no fault coverage similar to health insurance but on your auto policy for your injuries and your passengers injuries. This coverage is available regardless who is at fault. Yes, you can be the cause of the accident and you will still be covered. There’s no deductible and no co-payment. There is other separate coverage that will cover the other party if you were at fault. If you do not have PIP then you could still be covered if you were in an accident in another state besides Texas. You may also be covered if you were hit in a crosswalk by a car or on a bicycle or borrowing someone else’s car.
What will a claim do to my insurance rates and policy renewal?
Under section 5.7016 of the Texas insurance code, automobile insurance carriers cannot non-renew you for filing one PIP claim in a 12 month period. Also, it is unlikely that they would raise your rates for a sole PIP claim.
Why doesn’t the other guy’s insurance pay for my medical expenses and why should I use my insurance?
Medical treatment is expensive and you are liable for the costs. There is a chance that the other party may never pay for your medical expenses leaving you a financial burden. PIP gives you peace of mind that your medical bills are covered. If you use your health insurance, you may have to pay a deductible and co-pays to your doctor and if the health insurance finds out that you were in an accident they could request to be reimbursed. Some people get referred to a medical provider by their attorney and the medical provider agrees to be paid months or even years later. Since there are a limited number of medical providers who agree to this arrangement, your choice and quality of healthcare may be limited. The answer is to use your PIP coverage so you will not have to pay for medical expenses out of your pocket and get the best possible healthcare treatment available for you and your family’s injuries caused by the accident.
Whiplash Treatment In Austin
Whiplash is a generic term applied to injuries of the neck caused when the neck is suddenly and/or violently jolted in one direction and then another, creating a whip-like movement. Whiplash is most commonly seen in people involved in motor vehicle accidents, but it can also occur from falls, sports injuries, work injuries, and other incidents.
What structures are injured in a whiplash?
Whiplash injuries most often result in sprain-strain of the neck. The ligaments that help support, protect, and restrict excessive movement of the vertebrae are torn, which is called a sprain. The joints in the back of the spine, called the facet joints, are covered by ligaments called facet capsules, which seem to be particularly susceptible to whiplash injury.
In addition, the muscles and tendons are strained—stretched beyond their normal limits. The discs between the vertebrae, which are essentially ligaments, can be torn, potentially causing a disc herniation. The nerve roots between the vertebrae may also be stretched and become inflamed. Even though it is very rare, vertebrae can be fractured and/or dislocated in a whiplash injury.
What are the common signs and symptoms of whiplash?
The most common symptoms of whiplash are pain and stiffness in the neck. These symptoms are generally found in the areas that are “whiplashed.” For example, during a whiplash, first the head is lifted up from the upper-cervical spine. This creates a sprain/strain in the region just below the skull, where symptoms usually occur. Symptoms may also commonly be seen in the front and back of the neck. Turning the head often makes the pain and discomfort worse.
Headache, especially at the base of the skull, is also a common symptom, seen in more than two thirds of patients. These headaches may be one-sided (unilateral) or experienced on both sides (bilateral). In addition, the pain and stiffness may extend down into the shoulders and arms, upper back, and even the upper chest.
In addition to the musculoskeletal symptoms, some patients also experience dizziness, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and even blurred vision after a whiplash injury. While these symptoms are disconcerting, in most cases, they disappear within a relatively short time. If they persist, it is very important to inform your doctor that they are not resolving. Vertigo (the sensation of the room spinning) and ringing in the ears may also be seen. In addition, some patients may feel pain in the jaw. Others will even complain of irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms also resolve quickly in most cases. In rare cases, symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years.
Another important and interesting aspect of whiplash is that the signs and symptoms often do not develop until 2 to 48 hours after the injury. This scenario is relatively common but not completely understood. Some speculate that it may be due to delayed muscle soreness, a condition seen in other circumstances.
How is whiplash treated?
One of the most important aspects of whiplash management is for the patient to stay active, unless there is some serious injury that requires immobilization. Patients should not be afraid to move and be active, within reason. In addition, your doctor will often prescribe an exercise or stretching program. It is particularly important to follow this program as prescribed, so that you can achieve the best long-term benefits.
Chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy
Ice and/or heat are often used to help control pain and reduce the muscle spasm that results from whiplash injuries. Other physical therapy modalities, such as electrical stimulation and/or ultrasound, may provide some short-term relief. They should not, however, replace an active-care program of exercise and stretching. Spinal manipulation and/or mobilization provided by a chiropractor can also give relief in many cases of neck pain.
Can whiplash be prevented?
Generally speaking, whiplash cannot be “prevented,” but there are some things that you can do while in a motor vehicle that may reduce the chances of a more severe injury. Always wear restraints (lap or shoulder belt), and ensure that the headrest in your vehicle is adjusted to the appropriate height.
A great chiropractor treatment can be a huge benefit for those of us who suffer from constant aches and pains.
The Four Phases of a Whiplash Injury
During a rear-end automobile collision, your body goes through an extremely rapid and intense acceleration and deceleration. In fact, all four phases of a whiplash injury occur in less than one-half of a second! At each phase, there is a different force acting on the body that contributes to the overall injury, and with such a sudden and forceful movement, damage to the vertebrae, nerves, discs, muscles, and ligaments of your neck and spine can be substantial.
During this first phase, your car begins to be pushed out from under you, causing your mid-back to be flattened against the back of your seat. This results in an upward force in your cervical spine, compressing your discs and joints. As your seat back begins to accelerate your torso forward, your head moves backward, creating a shearing force in your neck. If your head restraint is properly adjusted, the distance your head travels backward is limited. However, most of the damage to the spine will occur before your head reaches your head restraint. Studies have shown that head restraints only reduce the risk of injury by 11-20%.
During phase two, your torso has reached peak acceleration – 1.5 to 2 times that of your vehicle itself – but your head has not yet begun to accelerate forward and continues to move rearward. An abnormal S-curve develops in your cervical spine as your seat back recoils forward, much like a springboard, adding to the forward acceleration of the torso. Unfortunately, this forward seat back recoil occurs while your head is still moving backward, resulting in a shearing force in the neck that is one of the more damaging aspects of a whiplash injury. Many of the bone, joint, nerve, disc and TMJ injuries that I see clinically occur during this phase.
During the third phase, your torso is now descending back down in your seat and your head and neck are at their peak forward acceleration. At the same time, your car is slowing down. If you released the pressure on your brake pedal during the first phases of the collision, it will likely be reapplied during this phase. Reapplication of the brake causes your car to slow down even quicker and increases the severity of the flexion injury of your neck. As you move forward in your seat, any slack in your seat belt and shoulder harness is taken up.
This is probably the most damaging phase of the whiplash phenomenon. In this fourth phase, your torso is stopped by your seat belt and shoulder restraint and your head is free to move forward unimpeded. This results in a violent forward-bending motion of your neck, straining the muscles and ligaments, tearing fibers in the spinal discs, and forcing vertebrae out of their normal position. Your spinal cord and nerve roots get stretched and irritated, and your brain can strike the inside of your skull causing a mild to moderate brain injury. If you are not properly restrained by your seat harness, you may suffer a concussion, or more severe brain injury, from striking the steering wheel or windshield.