A car accident can be a very scary and emotional event. However, by remembering a few key points, you can get through your accident in a less stressful manner. The first thing to remember after an accident is to remain calm. Start by ensuring that you, and all those you are responsible for in your car are safe, and accounted for. If possible, pull your vehicle off the road to a safe location. After finding a safe location, call 911. If possible, it is a good idea to take pictures at the scene of the scene of the accident for future reference. Collect all pertinent information from all parties involved, including all Insurance information, vehicle make and model, and Driver License numbers.
After you are done with the scene of the accident and have requested a police report, it is very important that you seek medical evaluation and treatment as soon as possible. If you have a life threatening injury, you most likely will be taken immediately to the hospital. Otherwise, it is best to see An Auto Injury Specialist that can thoroughly examine and treat your case when appropriate.
The last step is having your vehicle inspected and repaired. You have the right to have your vehicle repaired by the shop of your choice. Insurance companies contract with certain body shops and these shops try to save the Insurance Company money when possible. It is always a good idea to have two estimates on your vehicle, and make sure that the frame is inspected. It is your decision as to where you decide to have your vehicle repaired.
Chiropractic has proven to be one of the best options for Whiplash Injuries. Chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal injuries and understand the skeletal and muscular system more than any discipline in the medical field. With years of therapy, manipulation and X-Ray study, the field of chiropractic focuses on spinal rehabilitation. Additionally, chiropractors are qualified doctors, and are qualified to not only perform spinal manipulation, but they can also perform physical therapy. Drs. Kelsey are particularly well-versed in personal injury, both of them having taken the coursework and passed the exam necessary to attain their Advanced Certification from the Spine Research Instiute of San Diego (see www.srisd.com)
To ensure that your injuries heal properly, we first begin with skeletal alignment care and acute tissue repair. After X-rays are taken and your condition is diagnosed, we use spinal manipulation (adjustments) to restore skeletal alignment. With a whiplash Injury, the vertebrae/bones of your spine are misaligned and need to be put in place to make sure they and the attached ligaments heal properly. This is where chiropractors really are the preferred specialists. With specific testing and X-Rays, we are able to determine exactly which bones are affected and what needs to be done to restore their alignment. Make no mistake, this healing process will not happen on its own or with any other form of treatment.
When addressing the soft tissue healing process, a variety of therapies should be utilized. In the short term, to minimize muscle spasms, swelling and pain, we use therapeutic electrical stimulation therapy. This is a proven method of treating any type of acute soft tissue injury. As the tissues heal, one very important factor to prevent is the formation of scar tissue. Massage therapy, when done therapeutically, is a very important part of the prevention of scar tissue formation.
As your healing progresses, a spinal rehabilitation program is vital to your care. Doctor designed programs are utilized to properly rehab your injuries. This is one of the most important aspects of care and it ensures that you heal properly, and do not have issues arise in the future. Just like doing physical therapy after knee surgery, spinal rehabilitation works in the same manner by stressing flexibility and improving strength. Our Doctors are trained for these specific type of injuries, and design a program for each individual patient. Additionally, we work with numerous MD’s, neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons when a referral is necessary.
Understanding your Injury
A whiplash injury is generally caused from a flexion/extension injury. Usually this is caused from a car accident in which you come to a sudden stop, or are struck from behind or the side.. When this type of accident occurs, more than likely you will sustain a whiplash injury, regardless of how you feel. The beginning signs can be as little as tightness or soreness in either the neck or back, and as severe as an immediate headache or severe pain with limited range of motion.
When this occurs, soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and cartilage) can be damaged. These tissues will have tears on a microscopic level or complete separation in worse cases. Because of this, the bones/vertebrae, will be affected. Skeletal misalignments occur and in worse cases, fractures or dislocations within the joint occur.
It is imperative that after the injury that you seek medical attention by a qualified practitioner that can properly diagnosis your injuries. Physical examination, orthopedic examination, X-Ray and MRI’s are often required. These tests help specifically pinpoint your problem and help dictate the treatment that you require for your full recovery.
Regardless of how you feel, or what treatment you do or do not seek, from the time of your injury forward, your body will begin to heal. Any whiplash injury that goes untreated, regardless of the severity, will cause future health problems, premature degeneration and can lead to a chronic condition. In general, you have 90 days to seek active treatment before irreversible damage can occur. Full recovery from a whiplash injury can take 3-12 months depending on the severity of your injury. The sooner you begin treatment, the better your chances for a full recovery. Otherwise, if left untreated, there is greater than a 50% chance that you will have a chronic condition that will give you problems for the rest of your life and possibly be untreatable or require future surgery.
As if having an accident is not bad enough (between the damage done to you and your vehicle), the last thing that you want to do is deal with the insurance company. Regardless of what the commercials say on TV, or how nice our adjuster is, the insurance companies are most concerned about themselves, NOT you! Adjusters are urged to settle claims quickly and for the least amount of money possible. Some companies actually give bonuses to their Adjusters for settling claims for less!
The first, and most important thing to remember is, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING. Adjusters will often try and have you sign a release or settle the case very quickly for a small amount of money. Additionally, some Insurance Adjusters like to give you their opinion on your injuries, and tell you what you may or may not need. Adjusters are not licensed doctors and it is illegal for them to give any form of medical advice. This is why it is imperative that you seek medical care from a specialist ASAP. Only a licensed Doctor can properly diagnose and treat your injuries. You want to make sure that you receive the proper treatment, and that it is paid for by the responsible party.
With all of this being said, it is strongly suggested that you acquire the legal advice from an attorney that specializes in Personal Injury. With the use of an attorney, and a medical facility that handles these cases, you, the patient, never have to deal with misleading adjusters, paperwork, or legal battles. You should concentrate on your recovery and healing back to 100%, not piles of paperwork and legal matters. By having an attorney, you are assured that your medical bills will be taken care of, and that all future liabilities, reimbursement for travel and time loss from work, are handled.