A big mistake people make after a vehicle accident is in having what is called a delay in treatment. A delay in treatment is failing to see a physician as soon as possible. There are two reasons why this is a big mistake.
The first reason is because you are putting your health at risk. If you have been in a vehicle accident you really need to be checked out by a physician. We have clients who we say have the "John Wayne" syndrome. This means they think that they are too tough to be hurt in a vehicle accident and that they don't need to see a physician. A medical doctor, doctor of chiropractic or other health care provider is trained to take a history, examine you and treat you if necessary. You are far better off seeing a health care provider and letting that provider tell you if you are injured or not.
The second reason is that you are reducing the amount of money that the insurance company of the at fault driver is going to owe you as compensation for the harm caused to you. In order to understand this part of your case you need to know a little bit about the claims evaluation software programs being used by insurance companies to settle claims.
Insurance companies now have software programs to assist the insurance adjusters in evaluating claims. One of the principal duties of the insurance adjuster is now to feed data from the records into the program. The program does the thinking and generates a final settlement dollar amount. It is very difficult to ever get the adjuster to increase the amount of that computer generated offer significantly so it is very important that the data the insurance company feeds into the software is correct and complete. A delay in treatment may drastically reduce the amount of money the insurance company will pay on your claim.
One of the first pieces of data that the insurance company will be feeding into their software will be whether or not you have seen a physician within 72 hours of the accident. If you have seen a physician within that time frame then you have added what is called a value driver to your score in the insurance company software. There are more and larger value software drivers used in the software but in terms of time, this is the first important value driver that you want to have in your case profile.
So how to you get to a physician within 72 hours of the accident? There are a few simple ways to do so. If you have a family M .D. you can call that doctors office, advise his staff that you have been in a motor vehicle accident and need to be seen right away. If you have a good relationship with that doctor's office they may give you a quick appointment. If you cannot get in to see your usual M.D. right away then you should go to an Urgent Care facility to be seen.
Another way to see a physician right away is to see a doctor of chiropractic. The insurance company software programs recognize a chiropractor as a physician so if you can be seen within 72 hours of the accident by a chiropractor you will have satisfied this rule. It is just necessary that the M.D., chiropractor or other physician see you, take a history, perform an examination and record the findings. As long as a written record of that exists you have satisfied this first rule.
Some people might be reluctant to see a chiropractor because they think the chiropractor must necessarily "crack their spine" or perform adjustments on their spine. In fact, many chiropractors will not do spinal adjustments on the patient's first visit. What they do perform is the taking of a history, doing a physical exam and possibly taking X-Rays, which is all that you need at this point. Chiropractors are trained to perform the same physical examination as an M.D. The chiropractor just cannot prescribe prescription medications. In any case, all you need is the history, physical exam and possibly and X-Ray. If you cannot be seen by an M.D. or chiropractor, you can also go to a local hospital emergency room. In most areas there are hospitals which are designated as trauma centers.
They have to see you as a patient, even if you do not have health insurance or money to pay for treatment. For all of the above reasons, it is important that you be seen by a physician soon after a vehicle accident. You are entitled to be examined, even if you are not feeling pain or discomfort. Physicians are trained to spot motor vehicle accident problems that you or I might not recognize.
Let the health care professionals check you out, preferably within 72 hours of the collision, to make sure you receive care if you need it. This will also make sure that any eventual claim you may make against the at fault driver's insurance company has overcome the first hurdle of needing an examination by a physician within 72 hours rule. If you do not have health insurance you can still be seen by a physician. See the video by accident attorney John P. Burns which explains how you can get medical care after an accident if you do not have a means to pay for it. It is named "I've been in an accident and I don't have health insurance. Is there a way I can get medical care?" It can be found at You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dBxxUypkRc
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