I Was In A Car Wreck….Now What?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

What You Can Expect After You Experience a Car Wreck.

So you’re involved in a car wreck. Now what?

From personal experience I can only give recommendations but no solid answers. This is due to the fact that all insurance companies are different, all policies are different, damages vary, and insurance adjusters vary. But, I might can give you some general guidelines.

Here’s where you may want to start:

Go to the emergency room if you have any indication that you should. It is much better to err on the side of safety than to try to act like John Wayne. You only live once so what is the importance in trying to be tough? Go and make sure that you are going to be alright.

The next thing is to find out what kind of insurance is going to be involved in your wreck. That means all insurance you can find for all parties. You may need them all. For instance, you will hopefully have your own health insurance (1st party). That can be used. Do you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on your own car insurance? If you do not, please get as much PIP as you can afford. PIP will help you with your car wreck. PIP can help you if you fall and hurt yourself in your back yard. It is versatile and important. Also the driver that hits you should have car insurance (3rd party). Make a note of all of the policies and make sure you have claim numbers for all of them.

If you feel that you do not need to go to the hospital, make sure that you go to your chiropractor or your family practitioner to be checked out thoroughly. And make sure you do this within a day or two of the accident. Here’s the only problem with going to the family doctor. In general, they do not particularly enjoy dealing with attorneys, insurance adjusters, and car wreck cases in general. You will most likely get some pain meds or anti-inflammatory meds and that will commonly be the extent of the visit. Obviously, I am a chiropractor so a chiropractor is where I would be going for car wreck case management with a visit to a medical doctor for any pain management that I may require. Make sure that you are going to a chiropractor that is experienced in car wreck case management and experienced in dealing with the insurance companies.

Do not sign anything the insurance company sends you that has to do with sharing your health history. Here’s a question. Why would they want anything to do with your health history? My personal feeling is in order to find anything in your past that they can use to deny your current claims. You do not have to sign this paper and if you read it in depth, it will tell you that you do not have to sign it. Besides all of that, it’s none of their business!

Here is another question that you will need to ask yourself. Do I need an attorney? The answer to this question is a personal choice but you need some information and some inside on the matter. The first thing is that I would seriously consider contacting an attorney if the accident was anything more than a fender bender. You cannot foresee the extent of injuries. Time dictates that. Insurance companies will tell you that your car damage is directly related to the extent of your injuries. There are just too many studies that debunk this. They are not directly related. Even low speed impacts can be very troublesome for you. It is also a common perception that the insurance adjuster’s job is to get your case off of his/her desk as quickly and as inexpensively as he/she can. That does not sound like someone that I want to be responsible for my healthcare needs. So, again, if it were up to me, I would consider an attorney for anything more than a fender bender. We have had experience with most personal injury attorneys in Amarillo and would be glad to give you recommendations if asked. It should also be understood that getting your car repaired is your responsibility and the personal injury attorney does not do that for you.

The next step in the process would be to take control of your health and follow the recommendations set for you by your chosen health professional. If you’re told to use ice at home, go home and use ice. If you are given home exercises, do those exercises on your own!

There is a lot that goes into all of the facets of a car wreck and the following case management. But, this guideline will hopefully get you started on your way to getting pain-free and getting your life back to normal again.

Please feel free to call us here at 806-355-3000 with any questions you may have. We will do our best to help you in any way we can.

Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Amarillo Chiropractor