Being in a car accident is a very difficult situation on a number of levels. Your pain is sometimes secondary to the aftermath of having your car at the mechanic as well as the stress of dealing with your insurance and potentially missing work.
While you are in a hurry to get your car fixed and back to normal activities, make sure to see your chiropractor before you make any major decisions. There could be underlying injuries that a minor stiff neck is not allowing you to uncover. A car accident is a major event and the trauma that comes from them could be significant.
Chiropractors are specialists in soft and hard tissue problems including the results that could come from the trauma from a car accident. Make sure you see your chiropractor to get a full examination.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT:
Knowing what to do and who to call after an accident protects you and your loved ones. Become familiar with the following process so you are prepared if you or someone you know is involved in an automobile accident.
- Call 911 or Highway Patrol
- Exchange contact information, driver's license numbers and insurance information with the other driver/drivers.
- Document the make, model and license plate number of the other cars involved.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information and a brief statement.
- Make notes of how the accident happened while it is fresh in your mind.
- Take photos of the damage to both vehicles.
- Take photos of any skid marks, if any.
- Cooperate with the police and express concern for injuries and damage, but DO NOT admit you were at fault.
The police officer will ask if you are injured, and if so, the following is some verbiage to use. Be sure to reference body part, i.e.,
- Yes, my lt/rt shoulder hurts
- Yes, my neck/back hurts
- Yes, I have neck pain
- Yes, I have a headache
- Yes, my leg/legs hurt
Depending on severity, use the following:
- I need to go to the hospital by ambulance
- Report the same injuries to the ER Dr./staff you gave to the police officer
- See your chiropractor, who is "trained" in spinal trauma within days of the crash
- Request an MRI within 2-3 weeks of the crash, if pain persists
- See a neurologist or surgeon for evaluation withing 60 days, if pain persists
- Contact your insurance carrier to report the accident.
Recommended insurance coverage follows:
- Minimum $50,000 + med pay
- Minimum $50,000 + uninsured motorist
- Minimum $50,000 + under insured motorist
Most insurance covers repair of vehicle, leaving little to no coverage for your injuries. While the additional coverage will increase the premium, it is well worth having coverage for your personal injuries.