5 Car Accident and Injury Questions Answered by Doctor in Warrington and Horsham Pa
1. I’ve been examined at the Emergency Room. I was given medication for my pain. Do I need any more medical follow-up?
2. Is it important for further diagnostic testing?
3. What kind of treatment for my injuries can I expect to receive?
4. Who pays for my medical care after my auto accident?
5. How do I receive compensation for my injuries?
It’s common after an accident to feel some pain and discomfort, but it is not uncommon for these type symptoms to persist and lead to further problems later. Soft tissue injuries such as muscles and ligaments are overstretched so sprained/strain injuries result, but usually it’s inflammation that causes the pain. Muscles tend to tighten or spasm in an effort to protect the joint. If the inflammation is not properly managed within the first few days, scar tissue will form around the joints, causing pain and decreasing your joint mobility. Seeking medical attention right after your accident would be the first step in determining the seriousness of your injuries. Leaving the doctor’s office with some medication for pain and no medical follow up to management of your injuries could be disastrous. Typically most physicians can easily misdiagnose some of these kinds of conditions or overlook the seriousness of not treating these type of injuries with therapy. That is why it’s important to choose a physician who is trained in the treatment and diagnosis of these types of soft tissue injuries. •
2. Is it important for further diagnostic testing? Most of the time, pain from your injuries may be managed through conservative measures. It is not until a thorough exam has been conducted by Dr. Richard Schwartz, that an initial diagnosis can be made. Usually it is standard to order x-rays of the injured areas to view any fractures, joint dislocations and spinal misalignment. Depending on the severity of your condition after the accident and the results of your exam, you may require further diagnostic testing. This may include an MRI or CAT scan, which gives a detailed picture of the soft tissue structures (muscles, ligaments, discs and internal organs). From a scan the doctor can give a more definitive soft tissue diagnosis and determine the extent of your injuries and approximate the length of care or additional care may need to be given. •
3. What kind of treatment for my injuries can I expect to receive? No matter how insignificant you may think your injuries may be following an auto accident, foregoing treatment may lead to a much bigger medical problem later. With the proper medical care you have a better chance for a full recovery. After your initial examination, a prescription for medication may be written for pain along with therapy orders that might be applied, beginning that same day. It is important to know that medication will not treat your injuries but only mask the problem. Without therapy you may have less of a chance for a full recovery. Try to be patient; it may take a few weeks of therapy to get you back to where you were before the accident. Don’t worry; our physicians are prepared to help you with work related notes that you may need for time off or any other job restrictions. Our patient care coordinators will also assist you with your insurance benefits to ensure that you will be reimbursed for any time missed from work. Remember the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. “What little time you give to getting well is less time you have staying sick”. When you start your treatment sessions with us, our staff of chiropractic physicians, massage therapists and athletic trainers will begin by applying your therapies, which may range from 45 minutes to an hour in length. Treatment will consist of several different types of therapy modalities, which will include ice or heat, paired with electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, massage and manual therapies, active rehabilitative therapy and/or spinal manipulation. Initially, our therapeutic goal is to reduce the pain levels by treating the inflamed tissues and muscles spasms. As you respond favorably to your treatment, your therapy will become more advanced. Our therapeutic goal is to restore range of motion to the effected joints and begin to strengthen tissues that have lost their tone. Immediately following your auto accident, Dr. Schwartz a chiropractor in Horsham, and Blue Bell Pa will closely treat your condition over the next several days. If your condition suddenly worsens and/or new symptoms arise, further diagnostic testing will be ordered, and therapy may be altered until we review the results of those tests. Some of the common soft tissue symptoms associated with neck and back injuries from an auto accident are sharp shooting pain into the limbs and numbness and tingling into the hands and feet. These symptoms, which are more than likely nerve related, are commonly mistaken for cardiovascular problems. The cause is usually a result of a disc injury. One of the first symptoms of disc injury is numbness and tingling in the arms or legs with or without associated muscle weakness. Headaches and dizziness can also be related to neck injuries. The most common neck injury in relation to an auto accident is whiplash. This occurs when the muscles and ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of motion, tearing the tissues and damaging discs. Brain injuries can result from a more serious whiplash causing your head to hit a hard object. As a result, you can develop a concussion, posttraumatic amnesia, and even seizures. All of which are conditions that can be related to some neural damage within the brain. Expect to have good and bad days with your pain, as this is common with the rehabilitation process. Our physicians are monitoring your treatment daily, ordering the appropriate diagnostic tests when needed, and modifying your therapy as to assure progression of your rehabilitation goals. In addition our physicians usually will perform periodic medical exams every three to four weeks. This is to determine the status of your condition and if you need any further medical care or changes to your current plan of treatment. Pain medication is part of your treatment and it may be necessary to help manage your pain initially, but long-term use of pain medication can become addictive and harmful. Again our objective is to treat your condition and not just your pain. •
4. Who pays for my medical care after my auto accident? When you are involved in an auto accident in the State of Pennsylvania, regardless of who is at fault, your medical treatment is covered under your own auto insurance carrier. Your personal injury protection or “PIP” insurance is required for every Floridian to have in order to drive legally in this state. Your PIP insurance allows up to $5,000 in medical benefits, which pays for your medical care, lost wages or any medical -related expense as a result of your auto accident. That may seem efficient coverage (money) to handle your medical bills, but sometimes it is just not enough. A visit to the Emergency Room can be costly and the medical bills can run up into the thousands of dollars if any diagnostic tests are performed. Hospitals have the right to bill at a much higher rate for practically the same services you’ll receive at any standard medical facility. Florida law states that any medical provider outside the hospital that renders services to you can only bill your PIP benefits at 200% of Medicare fees. No matter how much they bill for their services, they cannot collect any more from you or your insurance company than what is allowed to be paid. That’s why if you are not seriously hurt (i.e., need stitches or have broken bones or head trauma) from your accident, try to seek medical attention elsewhere. You will save time and your PIP money. 5. How do I receive compensation for my injuries? When your PIP benefits are exhausted and you are still having problems with the injuries you sustained from the accident, you may have to seek legal ways to get the money to pay for future medical expenses that you might incur. Pennsylvania statues states that you have to determine that an injury is permanent in order to get medical compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier after PIP benefits have run out. Permanent Injury is defined by Statue 627.737(2) “(A) plaintiff (the person who initiates a law suit) may recover damages in tort (suing the at-fault party for a civil wrong) for pain, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation or use of such motor vehicle only in the event that the injury or disease consists in whole or in part of”: a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function. b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement. c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
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