Frequently Asked Questions - Do I need to see a Doctor for a Whiplash Claim?
Due to the fact that the majority of most whiplash injuries are considered to be a “soft tissue injury” by insurance companies, it would be in the best interest of an injured party to seek medical attention by a medical professional as quickly as possible following the collision in an effort to substantiate a claim. While the term whiplash injury claim may consist of a variety of symptoms and diagnoses, the best way to obtain verification of what is, or could be, a whiplash claim, is to seek attention by a medical professional. A whiplash claim for injuries sustained as a result of a motor vehicle collision can vary based on the severity of the impact in the collision, an individual’s threshold for pain, and/or whether or not the area, or areas affected have suffered re-injury. Following a motor vehicle collision, if a party is injured and they wish to file a claim, seeking immediate medical attention can greatly influence their claim.
Considering that no two individuals experience the same injuries, the same level of pain, or the same symptoms, even if they were involved in the same motor vehicle collision, seeking attention from a medical professional to document the extent of the injuries sustained is imperative. While some whiplash injuries do not require extensive or long-term medical care, seeking medical attention immediately following a collision for a whiplash injury claims will only help to prove the type of whiplash injury. For example, one of the important things to bear in mind is that a medical professional will document the extent of the injury or injuries to the area, or areas affected. In addition, a medical professional will recommend treatment for the injury, or injuries sustained in an effort to get the injured party back to their prior level of function. Furthermore, through a medical care professional’s recommended course of treatment, it can be determined whether an injured party may require future medical care, and this, in turn, will allow an injured party by and through their representing attorney to determine the proper value based on the injury and treatment sustained for a whiplash claim.
Seeking medical attention for a whiplash claim can be accomplished by visiting a local emergency room, urgent care center, or primary care physician. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that each of these referenced medical providers produces different types of recommendations for the course of care. For example, visiting your local emergency room following a collision is necessary as it can help to document your injury; this type of examination is generally not too in-depth as far as the extent or severity of injury sustained. Most local emergency rooms or urgent care facilities will usually obtain imaging studies to rule out a fracture or treat immediate life-altering injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, and internal bleeding, follow-ups with a primary care physician, chiropractor, or other medical provider is crucial. Seeking one-on-one treatment with a provider will help to determine the correct course of treatment in an effort to get an injured party to their prior level of functioning. Moreover, seeking and obtaining treatment with a personal medical provider to document an injured party’s course of care on a much more detailed basis, allows for any future medical treatment recommendations in a whiplash claim.
Not only is seeing a doctor or other medical professional for evaluation following a whiplash injury in a motor vehicle collision critical for a claim, so is following through on the recommended course of care on a consistent basis. For example, as previously stated, emergency room care and evaluation are primarily done to rule out any serious injury or fracture. While, treatment with a chiropractor, a physical therapist, or other medical professional is done over an estimated course of time with possible additional requests for imaging studies, referrals to pain management, or even specialists. As a whiplash claim is not necessarily composed of a single medical care documentation, and gaps or inconsistency in treatment can greatly affect the outcome of a whiplash claim. Further, if you feel you may have sustained a whiplash injury, waiting to seek any medical attention following a motor vehicle collision is not recommended. While waiting is not necessarily detrimental for a whiplash claim, it certainly does not help to prove that the injury or injuries claimed are as a result of the motor vehicle collision.
Moreover, as whiplash injuries can sometimes take time to develop following the collision, seeking medical attention from a medical professional will also help to document any whiplash symptoms that may develop in the future. Additionally, seeking medical attention really is the only way to file a whiplash claim, or any injury claim for that matter. Taking into consideration that diagnoses, imaging studies, physical examinations, and/or additional testing to determine an injury can only be done by a medical professional. The longer the time from the collision to the first date of medical treatment, the claim is more likely to be adversely affected. Moreover, insurance companies specifically look for any and all medical documentation from a medical professional in order to help determine the value of a claim. In addition to medical documentation, insurance companies look for any medical expenses incurred in connection to the treatment, if any. These medical bills are just as important as the medical documentation, as any medical expense incurred from a medical provider is generated by medical codes. These codes are attached to each charge and can be submitted to your insurance company, such as health insurance, personal injury protection insurance, medical payments coverage insurance, or Medicare and/or Medicaid insurance. These charges with attached medical codes are used by each respective insurance company, or companies, to document the charge, or charges, from any medical tests or imaging studies performed by the medical provider, or medical facility, to help determine if the injuries sustained, their extent, and recommended necessary treatment is due to a motor vehicle collision.
So, while every whiplash injury is comprised of different pain, symptoms, diagnoses, medical care, course of treatment, and medical expenses incurred, all of these different things are required for any whiplash claim an injured party may choose to make. Every different component is necessary to help establish or determine a value to a whiplash claim.