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08 . 18 | Personal Injury

Do auto accident settlements cover chiropractic treatment?

Even minor fender benders can result in neck injuries like whiplash or back pain that can linger for months and even become chronic. The impact of airbags can cause spine, lumbar and upper arm injuries. And when you slam the brakes or experience any sudden stop, the resulting jerk can result in a slipped or herniated disc and soft muscle injuries.

These injuries can be severe and can occur while traveling under 14 miles per hour. They can be long-lasting with lingering pain that responds best to chiropractic treatment.

The pain from these injuries can be managed by a chiropractor through a regular schedule of visits as you heal, and this care also promotes healing. And while the appropriate number of visits and length of treatment depends on how severe the injury is, any chiropractic care you receive should be covered by the insurance settlement from the liable driver’s insurer.

Insurance settlements reimburse you for medical expenses related to treatment for car accident injuries. But for chiropractic care reimbursements, it’s important to know how insurers handle these claims so your treatments are covered. Why? One reason is that often the need for chiropractic care comes to light weeks or months after the accident.

For neck and spine injuries, in particular, an injury sustained in a car accident may not cause immediate pain and discomfort. This is why personal injury attorneys in California advise a through chiropractic exam following a collision, especially when another driver is at fault and medical care reimbursement is an issue.

If a chiropractic evaluation is delayed, then from the insurer’s perspective the link between treatment and the accident may be unclear and reimbursement for treatment denied. This is especially true because chiropractic treatment is still seen by many as alternative, non-medial care — despite it being the most common treatment for whiplash, soft issue and spine injuries from car accidents. And more often than not, insurance companies will try to reduce their liability by claiming just that.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to increase your legal standing for reimbursement of chiropractic care in California.

  1. Start chiropractic treatment as soon as you can after the accident.
  2. Ask your primary care doctor for a chiropractic referral as part of your recovery treatment plan.
  3. Show up for all your chiropractic and other medical appointments.
  4. Have your chiropractor record your diagnosis and care plan in your medical records, with supporting documents including:
    • Diagnostic test results.
    • X-rays and radiology reports.
    • Symptom and pain charts.
    • Referrals to pain management or other specialists.
  5. Keep an injury, pain and activity log that details your physical pain and how it limits your everyday life.
  6. Follow recommended physical therapy and treatment schedules.
  7. Consult with a California attorney specializing in personal injury cases.

The unfortunate fact is that most injuries sustained in car accidents require multiple visits to usually more than one doctor. This is one reason your personal injury attorney will likely advise you see a chiropractor immediately.

Establishing a diagnosis and treatment plan early is also crucial for compensatory damages claims. Insurance adjusters calculate monetary compensation based on either a pain multiplier system a per diem system.

The per diem system calculates a monetary value for each day you suffered and multiples that number by the total number of days you have suffered. The pain multiple system totals the money spent on medical bills, lost wages and all other documented expenses related to the accident, and then multiplies this by a number between 1.5 and 5, depending on how much pain and suffering you endured.

A final factor in determining your accident settlement is the policy value of the driver liable for your injuries. The insurance company is responsible only for the maximum amount offered by the policy, even if your expenses are higher. In California, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 total in bodily injury liability insurance.

To make sure that you receive a fair and equitable accident settlement that covers all the medical treatments you need for a full recovery, speak with a personal injury attorney at LawPLA today. Just call either of our Los Angeles offices or visit our website to schedule a free personal injury consultation.

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