Marana/Oro Valley/Tucson Chiropractic Personal Injury Treatment
Car accidents are one of the most common sources of short and long term disability in the United States and can present a complex healthcare challenge. In Pima County, of which Marana, Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson comprise a large component, there were 2,600 motor vehicle accidents in 2016 which equates to 216 per month. Injuries sustained in these crashes can range from minimal stiffness/soreness to more severe muscle strain, ligament damage, head injuries and occasionally fractures/dislocations. These conditions are often described as soft tissue or Whiplash injuries.
The degree of injury is highly variable. Interestingly, there is no correlation of vehicle damage to the degree of injury sustained in the crash. Most of us have heard of people who walked away unscathed from a rollover accident that totally destroys the vehicle and yet there are people seriously injured from a relatively minor collision with low vehicle damage. Insurance companies will commonly use the argument that you cannot possibly be injured because your vehicle sustained only minor damage.
How can you determine if you have sustained a significant injury from a car wreck? You can’t! It is common for people who are in a car accident to go to the Emergency Room (ER) or Urgent Care (UC). What you may not realize is that in ER/UC, you are evaluated for serious and potentially life threatening conditions such as internal bleeding or skull/spinal fracture. Once you have been screened for these conditions, you are generally diagnosed with Whiplash or soft tissue injury and released with the assumption that it will heal on its own without treatment. People often will see their Primary Care Physician (PCP) following an accident. They may or may not be evaluated or x-rayed and generally will be given medication for pain, muscle relaxation, and/or inflammation. There is nothing wrong with this except that most PCP’s are not skilled and up to date in the evaluation and treatment of Whiplash injuries and it usually takes more than medication for proper healing to occur.
The truth is that most soft tissue injuries will heal without treatment but not to its optimal state. Some injuries, if not properly evaluated or treatment correctly, will have long term consequences such as lingering pain, stiffness, and/or headaches. Additionally, if these injuries are not documented correctly, the injured party may not receive the compensation they are due for the on-going symptoms that may permanently impact their quality of life. The most commonly missed injuries are closed head trauma and ligament damage. Closed head injuries include concussions which must be evaluated and monitored by a neurologist if symptoms persist beyond the first few weeks after the trauma. Ligament injuries can only be properly evaluated by specific x-ray techniques which identify the laxity (looseness) so that bones are not held together firmly. This is not part of the ER or UC evaluation. These injuries are permanent and, using the American Medical Association’s Guide to Permanent Impairment, can be rated for permanent impairment which qualifies for a larger insurance settlement if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault.
What type of treatment relieves pain the quickest and allows for optimal soft tissue healing? It may surprise you to hear that a high percentage of car accident patients are treated by Chiropractors! It is important to be evaluated as soon as possible following an injury so that the injury is properly documented and appropriate treatment rendered early on. Medication from the ER/UC and PCP can be helpful to ease the symptoms and allow an injured person to return to work/school/daily activities sooner. It is necessary to understand the severity of the injury and start appropriate treatment to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, and support optimal soft tissue healing. The goal is to return a patient to their pre-injury state. Chiropractic, massage therapy, rehabilitation and physical therapy are useful to decrease pain, reduce muscle spasms, and restore range of motion and strength to the injured areas.
We have worked with medical providers, imaging centers and attorneys over many years who have expertise in the personal injury field which we can confidently recommend. The medical-legal arena of personal injury is complex and the offending party’s insurance company will do about anything to minimize the injury and their financial liability. It can be easy for a legitimate claim to be sabotaged by something that a patient may inadvertently say or do. That being said, it is our opinion that not every injured party is in need of an attorney, especially if the attorney is inexperienced in Personal Injury law.
Auto Accident Injuries
Questions and answers with the Doctor:
Do you treat people that have injuries from an auto accident?
A. Yes, I have over 30 years experience with this.
Do I get an attorney first or see you first?
A. You do not need an attorney to see me. In fact you may not need an attorney at all to settle your claim. If you do need an attorney then that can come after we evaluate your injury. Most important first is an evaluation and implementing your care to heal from the injury.
There are some Attorney Firms we will not work with so it is important that you come in and discuss this with us before retaining an attorney. Our priority is your healing and well being. An attorney is not the first priority in this process, you are!
How does all this work?
A. There are many aspects to this and I will give you a brief list but we are happy to explain how we handle these cases individually and in more detail in person.
1. Make an appointment to see me for an auto accident injury.
2. We will have you complete the information we need to care for you and process the handling for your charges.
If the accident was not your fault and you have a claim with the at fault party ‘s auto insurance company we will treat you on a medical lien basis when the details are confirmed.
If you have Med Pay (medical payments) coverage on your auto insurance we will bill your insurance and any balance we will carry onto the 3rd party claim. Med Pay coverage is a very affordable and worthwhile coverage to carry on your insurance! It covers medical bills from auto accident injuries whether you are at fault or not up to the amount of coverage you have elected to carry.
If the person at fault did not have insurance and you have Med Pay and or UM (uninsured motorist) coverage we will process the charges through that coverage. UM is another important coverage to carry on your auto policy to protect you!
If you were at fault and have MP coverage we will care for you under your MP coverage, otherwise you will need to provide your health insurance coverage.
Ultimately no matter what coverage, the charges are your responsibility.
You will need to provide all the insurance information of all parties involved.
My staff and I have been handling these kinds of cases for many years and are well versed in handling of these injuries and claims.
After an auto accident should I come in if I am just a little sore?
A. Yes, minimally you should be evaluated.
How long will it take to heal from my injury?
A. Every patient and injury is different. I handle these on an individual basis so it is hard to answer in this format because the extent of your injury and how you respond to the treatment are very important factors.
What does the treatment involve?
A. Generally, Chiropractic manipulation, physio- therapy such as muscle stimulation or ultra sound, trigger point therapy, exercise, and massage. That said, each person is handled on an individual basis relating to need so your care may rage from 1 to all of those or referrals for other specific needs.