My dears I am going to share some VERY important information with you about car crashes that no one has shared with you before.
You may reflect on a past car crash you were involved in. You may empower yourself with newly learned information in the unfortunate event you are involved in a car crash in the future. The insurance statistics state that the likelihood of a California licensed driver to become involved in at least one motor vehicle crash every 7 years.
Reading this can change your life.

Picture this. You are coming home from work and sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway. Then BAM!

You’ve been rear-ended. When the adrenaline sets in and you realize what just happened, you exit your vehicle and notice your car is beyond totaled. The overwhelm may set in. Maybe even panic. You may even be seriously injured.

Assuming you are not seriously injured, here is what you need to know that no one else is telling you, in an easy step by step process: 
  • Take pictures of ALL damages to both vehicles. Take a picture of the other’s driver license plate and insurance information as well as writing it down. If you can even video it, that is better because you can record verbal dialogue that may be said, which will come in handy later. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information.
  • Keep your words to an absolute minimum. Do not apologize regardless of fault. 
  • Call an emergency number if the cars need towing. If you are starting to experience concerning symptoms you may need to call an ambulance.
  • Call your support. Accept NO help from the other driver.
Later when you are home safe:
  • Call your insurance company to report the crash and receive a claim number. Call their insurance company to report the crash and receive a claim number. I will warn you, the other insurance company is going to be incredibly sweet and kind to you. Do not speak of your injuries. Do not allow them to record any statements. Write all the information down.
  • Write down Every. Single. Thing. You remember about the car crash when it happened.
***Please do not do this on the side of the freeway, or even worse still in the road. It is very dangerous! Do this when you are in a safe place!***

By the next day, you may start to feel symptoms set in that you have never experienced before. You may feel pain and stiffness in places that you have never felt before. Your face or arms may be numb. Your muscles may feel incredibly weak. Memory recall and thinking may be difficult. You head may feel foggy. These are the bodily responses to a whiplash injury.

I understand first-hand how scary and overwhelming this can be and what an interruption this is to your daily life.

Whiplash injuries are very serious and if left unaddressed properly following a car crash, can wreak havoc on your entire health system. When soft tissues in the neck, such as muscles and ligaments, are rapidly stretched during a whiplash reaction, damages and tears will occur. Because the way ligamentous structures heal is by the formation of scar tissue, whiplash injuries can result in some degree of permanent injury. Scar tissues do not belong in your ligaments! It will reduce their elasticity and overall mobility, which can set the stage for chronic neck pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, and even numbness.

Not only will you have injuries to the soft tissues, injuries to the joints in the spinal structures of the upper neck can be even worse. Issues such as neck pain, reduced neck mobility, headaches, blurred vision, facial numbness, dizziness, nausea, neck and upper back muscle pain, jaw joint pain, low back pain, and numbness down the arms are common post-whiplash symptoms.

A few things to consider regarding car crashes:
  • There is no relationship to the amount of damage to the car and the amount of damage to the passenger…think steel vs flesh and blood
  •  81% of all injuries occur at speeds under 30 MPH.
  •  Women are injured in 42% of the accidents, men in 21%.
  •  Driving phobias and anxiety are very common following involvement with a car crash.

As an upper cervical chiropractor, whiplash injuries are most concerning to me because the areas in your spine that take on the most damage is the upper cervical spine. The area of your very first vertebra and second, the area that I specialize in. Any damage or alteration of NORMAL joint movement and structure, will cause a domino-like effect on the rest of the spinal structures in the neck and below, as well as compromised health and neurological function. Have you ever met a person who “just wasn’t the same” after a car accident? They were always depressed, anxious, in pain, and always getting colds? This is exactly why. 

The unfortunate thing is that the majority of people do not receive the proper course of treatment following the acute phase, immediately following the car crash. The failure to do so places the potential risk of improper healing, chronic pain, and depression, conditions that at some point may become unresponsive to physical therapy and medications. So how do you receive the proper treatment without having to rack up medical expenses? The accident is NOT your fault, so why should you have to carry the burden of your medical expenses? You have enough of a mess already with replacing your car.

 Here are the 2 main ways people manage their medical expenses following a car crash:
  • MEDPAY. Medpay is an add-on benefit to your car insurance policy. Medpay acts as a form of health insurance for motor vehicle accidents. It is a fixed amount that your insurance company will use for the medical expenses of your choice, and it costs just dollars on your annual policy. Whether it is MRI imaging, primary care visits, or most importantly your chiropractic care, medpay provides the no hassle coverage you need. Another great benefit to medpay is that the coverage protects you even if the car crash accident is your fault. If you do not have Medpay (known as PIP outside of California) call your agent!

 

  • Auto Crash Team. If you do not have Medpay and decide you will like to try to get the other party’s insurance company to pay for your medical expenses, you will find this to be quite difficult. Insurance companies do not negotiate a fair or ethical settlement unless they are communicating with an attorney. They will take advantage of this and offer settlements that don’t even come close to paying the medical expenses. Find a wonderful LOCAL personal injury attorney and a team of healthcare providers, especially an upper cervical chiropractor. Your attorney will communicate with the insurance companies for you. They are responsible for sending all information, including your medical billing, and handling all negotiations. This will include the “pain and suffering” settlement. This settlement supports your physical suffering as well as the costs associated with your injuries and the stress of losing a vehicle or having one in the shop for weeks. A common misconception to this process is fear of “messing up the other person’s insurance.” Insurance companies cannot discriminate their insured clients if they were involved in an auto accident, that resulted in the other driver (you) claiming medical expenses. Their car insurance is going to raise and their rates will be adjusted, REGARDLESS of whether or not medical claims are made. So no sweat there!Most people find that this is the best option because it takes all the extra stress off of their plate. All they have to do is keep up with their chiropractic visits and get better! Another perk? Most attorneys and providers, take your case on a lien. This means you are not responsible for the bills while you are undergoing treatments for any provider, or your attorney. Your attorney’s job is to ensure the insurance pays for all bills and expenses. This is why we have insurance!

After becoming empowered with this information, people involved in car crashes experience most positive outcomes financially and physically.

Remember these two things:
  • Whiplash injuries are very serious and need proper chiropractic care in order to truly heal shortly following the crash.
  • You never have to carry the burden of the aftermath of an auto crash. You have options!

If you would like any other information, this blog post from The Specific Chiropractic Center is another great resource.