You should go to a chiropractor after a car accident for multiple reasons: chiropractors have the skills and resources to care for auto-related injuries, a visit may strengthen your claim and uncover hidden injuries, your chances of developing long-term health problems are less, and the chiropractor can testify in court about your injuries if needed. Chiropractors specialize in soft tissue and spinal injuries, which are common in car accidents. This specialization makes them a natural choice for the type of medical professional to see.
Why Your Lawyer Wants You to Go to a Chiropractor After a Car Accident
The chances of having a serious spinal injury in a car accident are relatively high, according to research published in the Asian Journal of Neurosurgery. Contributing reasons include high speeds and high impact from the accident, the relatively lax standards for car manufacturing and testing, and inadequate safety measures in vehicles. Human bodies are, at the same time, fragile and resilient.
A chiropractor is unlikely to be the first medical professional you see. Rather, the initial medical professional will probably be a first responder at the scene, depending on the level of your injuries. You may see emergency room doctors soon after that.
If you do not think you are hurt or think that your injuries are minor, your primary care physician could be the first person you go to. If you are already seeing a chiropractor, though, that person could be who you approach instead of your primary care doctor.
In many cases, it is your primary care physician who refers you to specialists and surgeons. Your doctor may not necessarily refer you to a chiropractor, but chiropractors can help diagnose and treat ailments and help your spine heal. Many chiropractors specialize in car accident injuries. They can pinpoint and treat the many injuries you might suffer in a crash.
How long you need to see a chiropractor depends on your injuries and treatment plan. You may receive rehabilitation, acupuncture, and massage therapy in addition to chiropractic treatment.
Chiropractors Assist in Your Recovery
Figuring out how to choose a medical provider after an accident can be confusing. Chiropractors are a wise choice because of their education and training and the fact that auto accident injuries tend to fall under the type of work they do.
For example, whiplash is a common delayed symptom of car accidents, as are invisible injuries, such as lower back and tailbone pain, limb numbness, headaches, and neck and back stiffness. Chiropractic care can help in all these areas.
Of course, hospitals and medical facilities may first need to conduct X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other types of testing to diagnose some serious injuries. Chiropractic care is typically an effective route for treatment.
Chiropractors also help you avoid long-term problems. Musculoskeletal injuries that are not treated do not disappear and get better. They get worse and more painful, and you have no recourse to ask for more money from the defendants after your legal case is closed. That is especially frustrating when you are dealing with severe injuries from a crash they caused.
Spinal cord injuries can be incredibly painful and costly, especially if not properly or fully treated in the first place. The costs of SCIs by severity are highest in the first year but may be lifelong.
SCIs are incomplete or complete type. Incomplete SCIs means that the spinal cord damage has not led to a fully severed connection between the spine and the vertebrae below the injury. A complete SCI involves a fully severed connection and typically 100% loss of sensation and movement everywhere below the injury.
Chiropractors Keep Your Legal Case Intact
It is important to protect your rights after a car accident. Seeing medical professionals, such as chiropractors, helps with that because you establish a clear relationship between the crash and your injuries. The defense should not be able to successfully claim later that you got injured a week after the crash, for example.
In any case, when you file injury claims, the insurance company typically checks to see if you got medical treatment within 72 hours of the crash. The company also wants to see documented medical evidence of your diagnosis and treatment plan.
A chiropractor documents your injuries and that they stemmed from the accident. This person also verifies that the treatments you received should be covered in a settlement or verdict. Chiropractors testify in court when needed and use their professional qualifications and expertise to help you make your case.
When you discuss your medical history with the chiropractor, talk about the date of the car accident, the surrounding circumstances, the symptoms (if any) you are having and their severity, and your complete medical history. For example, if you have pre-existing back pain or neck stiffness, that is critical for medical professionals to know. Giving an accurate medical history helps you avoid wrong diagnoses, treatments and prescription medications, and unneeded procedures.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
A chiropractor helps with both preventing injuries and healing existing injuries. Chiropractors practice holistic medicine and manipulate your spine to relieve muscle and joint pain. By performing these spinal adjustments, they boost blood flow and nerve signals to the joints and muscles to improve their function.
In their education, chiropractors study how the human body is connected and the effects of body parts on one another. They focus on finding the root causes of problems and treating them at these sources, rather than on treating or masking symptoms.
Chiropractic care does not involve invasive surgery or potentially harmful or addictive pain medication. However, chiropractic care can easily be coordinated and streamlined with other types of care.
After you have been in a car accident, a chiropractor performs a physical evaluation and testing to uncover potential injuries you suffered. He or she then creates a customized treatment plan to naturally and safely treat your spinal and soft tissue injuries.
Chiropractic care may be the only care you need, but chiropractors do not work in isolation if the situation calls for a team approach. The care is holistic, and plenty of room exists for other treatment approaches and modalities, so you can receive the best care possible.
Diagnosing Hidden Injuries
Hidden injuries are fairly common in car accidents. Seeking medical care as soon as possible, even for a minor fender-bender, is important. You may have internal injuries that are not immediately apparent. If nothing else, you have a relationship established with medical professionals if life-threatening injuries do not manifest for a few days or even weeks.
Chiropractors can diagnose and treat many hidden injuries. Sometimes, doctors at a hospital use equipment such as X-rays to diagnose, but chiropractors follow up and take care of treatment.
Protecting Yourself and Your Rights After a Car Accident
After a car accident, the first thing you should do is stop. Avoid leaving the scene of the accident, even if the crash seems minor. Stop in a safe place that should not pose further risk to people and property. At night, it is good to use flashlights, reflectors, or flares if any are handy.
Illinois requires that any motorist involved in an accident must provide reasonable aid to injured people. That could mean calling 911 or taking someone who was in the car with you to be checked out. However, do not perform anything you are not trained to do. Moving someone could make back injuries worse, for example. Next, contact the police. Their report will come into play if you have a car accident case.
In Illinois, you are also required to give your name, address, and registration number to other motorists involved in the crash. You should present your driver’s license if requested, too. Sharing required information is good, but refrain from oversharing. Do not admit fault, even if your fault seems completely clear. You could be wrong. Maybe the other driver is under the influence of something, or you have the wrong ideas about what caused the crash.
Try to collect the names, addresses, and contact details of witnesses. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and note skid marks and vehicle positions before and after the crash.
In Illinois, if death or injury occurred in or from the car accident (or property damage, in most cases) you must submit a written report. You can get the forms from the police or sheriff’s department. You’ll have to file the forms within 10 days, or you risk losing your license.
When you go to a chiropractor after a car accident, you are making good headway into ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment. You improve your chances of uncovering hidden injuries and keeping your legal case intact.