I’ve Been In An Auto Accident…Now What Do I Do?

 

When you’re in an auto accident, it’s very important to call the police by dialing 911 from the accident scene and have them come to the accident site. Make sure to request a police report at that time as this documents what happened and who it at fault. Typically, you can request a completed copy of this report from the police station within a few days of the accident. Keep a copy of this for your records.

 

Seeking Medical Attention:

If you are bleeding, lose consciousness, have broken bones or have life threatening injuries, you will of course want to start with a trip to emergency room. In this instance, the 911 dispatcher can dispatch you an ambulance when you call.

A trip to your medical doctor can be useful, but only if you want to receive medication to mask any symptoms such as pain that you are experiencing. With the Opioid Epidemic in full swing, many people are looking for another option. You best bet for pain, especially in the neck or back, is a trip to the Chiropractor. Chiropractors are highly trained to assess your injuries, provide a thorough Orthopedic and Neurological exam as well as take any necessary X-rays. Always make sure you see a Chiropractor that takes X-rays after an auto accident trauma before providing any treatment.

The Chiropractor will be able to tell you what they found, what they recommend, and answer any questions you have. They will recommend a customized treatment plan that aims to correct what is causing your symptoms as well as work on the stability of your spine and core. At home icing instructions, stretches, and exercises may be incorporated in this plan.

If you additionally have any specific extremity injuries (ex. wrist, knee, etc.), your Chiropractor will be able to refer you out to the appropriate Orthopedic Doctor.

If you have no pain, we still recommend having you spine checked by a Chiropractor. Cars are made of metal and therefore can absorb a lot of the force from the impact…our bodies on the contrary are not. In fact according to a Yale University study, it only takes 8.2 mph to cause lasting damage to your musculoskeletal system following a motor vehicle accident. In everyday terms…a fender bender with little to no damage to your vehicle could cause lasting damage to your body! A Chiropractic visit should be at the very top of your to-do list following an auto accident for this very reason.

 

Access to Health Care To Pay For Injuries:

The next thing you want to do is call your auto insurance and put in a claim.  Make sure to get the name of your claim adjuster you are assigned, their phone number and extension, and a claim number. Additionally, you need to ask them if you have “MedPay” on your policy. If so, find out the dollar amount of that benefit. MedPay is like health insurance on your auto insurance and it can be used per person per incident. (It is important to note that your auto insurance cannot raise your rates for choosing to use this benefit.)

Even if you don’t have pain immediately, many people start to have pain later that day, the next day or even days or weeks after the actual incident. This is why it is important to call your auto insurance right away. In the state of Connecticut, it is the law that you need to exhaust your MedPay first before proceeding to the next step which is using your actual health insurance.

If the claim adjustor says that you don’t have a MedPay benefit on your policy, request that they mail or email you a “No MedPay Letter”.  You need to keep a copy of this for your records as well. You will need to provide this letter to any health care providers you may see as a result of the accident. This will allow them to go ahead and to bill your health insurance for your care.

Once your MedPay is exhausted OR if you have no MedPay at all, medical bills moving forward should be billed to your health insurance. If and when your health insurance is exhausted, any remaining medical bills are then directed to the liability insurance. The liability insurance is the auto insurance of the person at fault. It would seem that this should be the first step and not the last, but this is unfortunately how the law works in Connecticut.

 

What About My Car?:

If your car is drivable, a claim adjuster can come right to you. If it is not, you can have your car towed straight to your favorite auto body shop.  The adjuster will assess the overall value of you car and then put together an estimate of damages. Dr. Tagliarini is happy to recommend an excellent reputable local auto body shop if you need one. 

A car is generally considered “totaled” if the cost to repair is around 70-80% or more of your car’s value.  If totaled, they will send you a check for the estimated amount or amount of repairs less deductible.  If you lease or finance, the insurance company will deal directly with the finance company. Gap insurance is important and will cover the remaining balance on payments.

Depending on your coverage options, there may be rental coverage while your car is being repaired. If deemed totaled, they will usually give you only three days for a rental. However most rental companies will extend the insurance price to you for the rental. 

Unsure if your auto insurance coverage is adequate? Ask us to recommend one of our favorite insurance agents before you end up underinsured and in a bad situation.

 

Should I Consider Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer?:

Absolutely. As harsh as it sounds, insurance companies are rarely on the victim’s side. You need someone on your side who will fight for and protect you best interests. Remember, the claim adjuster’s job is to deny and delay payment, so dealing with them directly yourself can be a hassle. Many patients opt to hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to deal with the red tape as a result. Make extra sure you choose a lawyer who specializes in Personal Injury, versus hiring a general practice lawyer.

With a Personal Injury Lawyer in your corner, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they will aggressively pursue what you really deserve and not a penny less. While you recover from your accident with amazing Chiropractic care at Tagliarini Chiropractic, your lawyer can compile evidence, submit paperwork, and negotiate with insurance adjusters all on your behalf. The legal burden is alleviated from your shoulders and you are no longer at the mercy of the powerful insurance companies.

The added benefit of using a Personal Injury Lawyer is that if you have one they can send what is called a “Letter of Protection” to your health care provider. Many health care providers (including Tagliarini Chiropractic) will do what is called “Accept Assignment” if they receive one of these letters. Accept assignment means no up-front out of pocket cost will be collected from the patient. The doctor will treat the patient then bill any uncovered balance to the lawyer who will then pay them directly out of the settlement in the end.

Many patients state that they don’t want to hire a Lawyer because the claim adjuster from the auto insurance of the at fault party was “nice” and they said to just send them the medical bills. We have never seen this scenario work out in the patient’s favor. In most cases, they end up getting cut off from Chiropractic care prematurely, getting a very poor settlement, or hiring a lawyer in the end…a lawyer that could’ve been doing the leg work for them all along.

Simply put, a Personal Injury Lawyer is an invaluable resource for suffering victims. Your rights matter, so why give an impartial third party the ability to dictate your future? Successfully pursuing what you deserve is possible with a Personal Injury Lawyer who cares. Feel free to ask Dr. Tagliarini for some quality Personal Injury Attorney recommendations if you need one.

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