Does Health Insurance Cover A Car Accident?

You may have great insurance to cover the costs of your car repair but not carry adequate medical coverage on your car insurance policy.

Most people assume that health insurance will cover all of their medical expenses and it doesn’t matter how they were injured.  This is not always the case, and your car insurance does have options that will take care of you if you are in an accident and need care.  If your car insurance is insufficient, you could be stuck without enough insurance to pay for your injuries at all.

Car Insurance and Medical Expenses

Here are some of the car insurance coverages that help with injuries after a car accident:

1. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage generally has a fairly low limit. It does pay for injuries occurring after an auto accident, but usually serves to augment the medical insurance policy that you have. It can basically help with your deductible and will only pay for a full doctor’s visit if it is substantially low.

2. Bodily injury liability pays for injuries that a person causes to another person. If you’re at fault for an accident, your insurance pays for the other person’s damages and injuries; the same is true in reverse whenever somebody else hits you. This coverage has no deductible and pays up to a limit. Once the limit is exhausted, no more funds will be sent out.

3. Medical payments coverage is a first-party insurance like PIP, but it has higher limits and covers more expenses. Most start paying out up to $5,000 for each person in the car who have sustained an injury.  This coverage is for each accident, not annually.

4. Uninsured and under-insured motorist coverages serve to replace bodily injury liability whenever a person is involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance or whose insurance is not high enough to cover the costs of the accident.

Will my Health Insurance cover car accident injuries?

Your medical insurance will pay for injuries only if no other insurance will cover the loss. This is true of all types of injuries. For example, a medical insurance company may refuse to treat an injury that happens while you’re at work until the company is sure you won’t be receiving any worker’s compensation. The same is true of car accidents.

If you do not have car insurance or your insurance has no medical coverages, your health insurance company will most likely cover the cost of your injuries if you were the only person involved in the accident. If another person was involved in the collision, the health insurance company will wait to see if the other party is at fault and their insurance will cover your injuries.  Because most health insurance companies will not move forward with paying a claim until all other claims have been denied, it can take quite a while to have your medical expenses covered. 

Oh, the happy wonders of insurance….

 

When Is It Good To Get An Attorney After A Car Accident?

Not only is car repair expensive but so are medical claims that have been accumulated after an auto accident.  The more insurance companies involved, the more complicated the process becomes.  If you’re in a situation where multiple car insurance companies are involved or your injuries will only be covered by a third party (the other person’s insurance); working with your health insurance to cover very expensive medical care can get confusing.  You may need or want to get the assistance of an attorney.  Often times third party insurance companies tell you that car repair and medical expenses will be paid by them easily, but in the end, they won’t pay medical professionals and those professionals then expect payment from you.  If you are not insured by them, they have no urgency or responsibility to pay for your medical or car repairs.  

When you are injured after an accident, the last thing you want to do is negotiate with an insurance that doesn’t insure you…they insure the person who hit you.  Better to focus on getting better and let someone else deal with the stress of payments.

An attorney will be able to help negotiate a higher settlement for you and explain the process in terms that you will understand.  A good attorney will be invaluable in helping you settle a claim. Be aware, however, that once you hire an attorney, your ability to communicate with the insurance companies will be limited and in most cases, the attorney automatically gets 1/3 of all settlement funds.

We work with attorneys on a lien and can help you get the care you need after an accident.  Call our Redwood City Chiropractic office today, this will allow you to get back on the road to health.

Do You Have To Use The Auto Body Shop Your Insurance Company Recommends?

Most insurance companies have repair contracts with body shops in your area.  If you use whomever they suggest, it benefits the insurance company because of negotiated lower labor and repair rates.  Insurance companies will also require their shop to provide a lifetime warranty but there are a lot of shops that do that already.  You just have to ask.

Insurance company claims representatives are given set goals that they need to achieve as far as costs.. They would like to see around 40% of their claims go to the repair shops they have suggested to their policy holders.  If you have chosen your own repair shop, claims representatives will frequently try to sway you away from using the body shop and tell you that the shop is not on the warranty list and it could effect payment of your claim.  They may explain that it will take up to a week before an adjuster will be available to write an estimate on your car which no one is really fond of.  They also may say that there will be no warranty if you don’t use someone on their list.

In my opinion that is really not cool.  Any great body repair shops will be confident in their work and offer a lifetime warranty no matter who is paying the bill. Shops are systematically interested in handling your claim and the repairs efficiently. Also, most body shops know how insurance company’s claims are processed, making it easy to complete the estimate process and repairs quickly.

So, the answer is No. You don’t have to use the body shop that AAA, Geiko, Farmers, State Farm etc. has recommended. The choice is yours by law, in the majority of cases. Will you still get top notch repairs?

Overall, whether it’s the insurance company’s recommended shop or your shop of choice, it is important that you choose a repair shop that you feel confident in. Ask friends, family and co-workers for recommendations. You can also research body shop reviews online through websites like Angie’s List.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • Does the shop have a lifetime warranty?
  • Do they have experience working on your type of car?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they worked with your insurance company before?
  • What is the likelihood that the estimate will go up once the repairs have started?

Just so you know, the shop you choose doesn’t have to be on your insurance company’s direct repair list.  A reputable body shop will work with any insurance company to restore your vehicle back in tip top shape.

References: http://www.angieslist.com/articles/do-you-have-use-body-shop-insurance-company-recommends.htm

How Do Insurance Companies Handle My Car Accident Injury Claim?

When you’re trying to get payments from your insurance company for an injury, you have to be proactive and know how an insurance company works.  For example, if you get into a car accident, the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident or is at fault will be the ones you’ll try to get paid from and settle your claim.

So how do insurance adjusters work and what is their motivation?

They are assigned to a case to investigate facts and determine how much each claim is worth. They work for the insurance company, not for you as the insured or as the victim. They are interested in keeping the payouts as low as possible or not at all so the insurance company doesn’t lose money.

Insurance adjusters want to pay out as little as possible and avoid a lawsuit. If a case does not settle with the insurance company, the individual who was injured can take it to the courts.   This is risky for an insurance company, as the damage award can end up being very high depending on the judge and jury. Legal fees and other costs associated with a trial can also become expensive for an insurer.

The insurance adjuster, wants to get the insured to accept the lowest settlement offer possible, without having to go to court.  Most adjusters decide on a number that they are willing to pay out and then will make an offer and then will make an offer to you that is lower than the maximum they came up with.  This can sometimes be as much as 25 to 50 percent lower. This is because they want some room for movement in case of settlement talks.

How an Insurance Adjuster Decides on an Offer

Adjusters are usually looking at:

  • Actual expenses (medical bills and costs) that have been incurred and that will be necessary in the future
  • Actual losses in the form of lost income or lost wages
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Emotional distress damages

Pain and Suffering Calculations

Because of the complexities associated with calculating pain and suffering, adjusters have a system. Here are two examples:

1. The injured victim is paid a set amount for each day of suffering 

2. Insurance company multiplies medical bills and lost income times a set number. The number that is often used for a pain multiplier will usually vary between 1.5 and 5, but each insurance company may have a slightly different system here.

Other Considerations

Insurance adjusters also consider two other key factors: policy limits and the strength of the plaintiff’s case.

The policy limits.

An insurance company is never going to pay more than the maximum amount of the insurance policy. For example, if a driver bought $50,000 in liability insurance, the maximum the insurance company will ever pay out is $50,000 total in legal fees and damages.

Effectively Dealing With an Insurance Company

Once you have an understanding of how insurance companies work and of what the motivation of the insurance adjuster is, you can use that information to your advantage to negotiate the best settlement possible. There are a few key things in particular that you should do:

Consider hiring a lawyer.

This lets the insurance company know immediately that you do take your rights seriously and that you will be filing a lawsuit if you aren’t given a fair settlement. Your lawyer also knows how to determine what your specific case should settle for and can use her expert legal knowledge and negotiation skills to get you the best outcome.

Make sure you have track and keep great evidence:

Photographs, journals, extensive medical records, and records of all bills paid and work lost are all essential.

Consider sending a demand letter

This is essentially a letter where you state what you will accept in order to settle the case. If you send this letter, then the negotiations with the insurance adjuster can begin at the number that you believe is fair, rather than the number that the insurance adjuster decides is right.

Remember, the insurance adjuster is trying to save money for the insurance carrier.  They will try to keep costs low.  You need to be paid what is fair under your policy.

References:
http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/insurance-adjuster-handles-claim.html
bruninglegal.com/car-accident-lawyer

Car Insurance, Settlement And Medical Payments

If you get in a car accident and you have Medical Payments on your insurance coverage, your insurance company will pay for you and anyone in the car that has an injury up to policy limits.  This is really good to add to your insurance policy if you don’t already have it and it only costs a small portion more per year (you will be surprised how little).  With this included in your policy, care is easy and effortless on your part.

Now, if you do NOT have medical payments on your car insurance policy and are hit by someone else:

During your care with a doctor, the insurance company for the person who is “at fault” sends a final settlement for damages to you in the mail or sometimes wants verification over the phone.  After this is verified, the insurance company will send out a check within 30 days after you reach this settlement figure for car damages or in some cases, the car repair shop will send the bill directly to the insurance company for repayment.  A “release” is included with the final paperwork to sign for closure of the damage part of your insurance settlement.  You must sign the release and return it to the insurance after which you are free to deposit the check.

Be Careful What You Sign Though….

If you also have a personal injury claim arising out of the same ­accident, which means you are seeing someone for injuries sustained by your car accident.  Be sure to read the documents you are to sign in accepting a property damage settlement. When you receive the check and release document, make sure the words “Property Damage Only” or “Property Damage Claim” are presented on each of the documents requiring signature.  Do not deposit any check or sign any document that reads General Release” or does not clearly indicate “Property Damage.” If you are not certain that either the settlement check or release is properly marked, ask the insurance adjuster to add “Property Damage Only” on the documents and to write you a separate letter confirming that this settlement amount is only for the property damage part of your claim.

This release is FOREVER and if you sign a document which covers your personal injury, you will no longer be compensated for your injuries and your case is closed.  A lot of insurance companies will pressure you to settle your injury claim, but do not do so until you are advised by your doctor that you are indeed finished with care.  Also, there may be future problems with a car accident injury that may not look like it is attributed to the past accident.  Try and make sure to negotiate future medical expenses in your settlement.  If you are not comfortable with the settlement, you may want to contact a lawyer, continue your treatment and have them negotiate with the insurance company.

Check your insurance policy today and find out if you have medical coverage on your policy, you won’t regret it.

 

Med Pay On Your Car Insurance Policy Covers Medical Costs

Since many insurance companies don’t offer the benefits what we would hope these days, it is scary when we are injured in a car accident.  You may want to consider adding Med Pay to your car insurance policy in case of an automobile accident.

When you elect to have Medical coverage on your car insurance policy, this insures that you are covered for any medical or chiropractic treatments you may need after an accident.  Med Pay will cover everyone’s medical bills who was in your vehicle at the time of the accident, regardless of who is at fault.  Coverage can vary but normally it will allow for up to $1,000, $5,000 or &10,000.   Also, if you or a family member are hurt in someone else’s car, your medical bills would be paid for if the driver of that vehicle doesn’t have any medical coverage for their vehicle.

Insurance companies and agents do not always offer medical payment coverage unless you ask for it.  The reason why is because it is a better deal for you than it is for them.  For example, if you have $1,000 worth of MedPay added to your car insurance it would only cost you $20.00 more per year.

Study Of Future Neck Pain After A Car Accident

FROM: European Spine Journal 2010 (Jun);   19 (6):   972–981

Paul S. Nolet, Pierre Côté, J. David Cassidy and Linda J. Carroll

Centre of Research Expertise in Improved Disability Outcomes (CREIDO), University Health Network Rehabilitation Solutions, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, Canada
Paul S. Nolet, 86 Dawson Road, Unit 3, Guelph, ON N1H 1A8, Canada e-mail: pnolet@rogers.com; pnolet@uhnresearch.ca

The Association Between a Lifetime History of a Neck Injury
in a Motor Vehicle Collision and Future Neck Pain:
A Population-based Cohort Study

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.

The objective of this population-based cohort study was to investigate the association between a lifetime history of neck injury from a motor vehicle collision and the development of troublesome neck pain. The current evidence suggests that individuals with a history of neck injury in a traffic collision are more likely to experience future neck pain. However, these results may suffer from residual confounding. Therefore, there is a need to test this association in a large population-based cohort with adequate control of known confounders. We formed a cohort of 919 randomly sampled Saskatchewan adults with no or mild neck pain in September 1995. At baseline, participants were asked if they ever injured their neck in a motor vehicle collision. Six and twelve months later, we asked about the presence of troublesome neck pain (grade II–IV) on the chronic pain grade questionnaire. Multivariable Cox regression was used to estimate the association between a lifetime history of neck injury in a motor vehicle collision and the onset of troublesome neck pain while controlling for known confounders. The follow-up rate was 73.5% (676/919) at 6 months and 63.1% (580/919) at 1 year. We found a positive association between a history of neck injury in a motor vehicle collision and the onset of troublesome neck pain after controlling for bodily pain and body mass index (adjusted HRR = 2.14; 95% CI 1.12–4.10). Our analysis suggests that a history of neck injury in a motor vehicle collision is a risk factor for developing future troublesome neck pain. The consequences of a neck injury in a motor vehicle collision can have long lasting effects and predispose individuals to experience recurrent episodes of neck pain.

Dr Amie Gregory thoughts and advice:

It is very important to get treated immediately after a car accident.  Most people rest afterward which is not the best way to go about it.  Soft tissue takes from 8-12 weeks to be rehabilitated and if rested after an injury, the tissue will become more taut and make it harder to move resulting in longer rehabilitation and more injuries.  If it is contradicted to adjust your neck or back after an accident, we can still work on the soft tissue and keep proper movement in your body preventing injuries and get you well quicker!

Whiplash Can Help With Chiropractic Care

In an article published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine in 1999, they pointed out the superiority of chiropractic care for patients suffering from long term whiplash.

The authors of the article noted that a previous study had shown that 26 of 28 patients, or 93 percent, of patients with chronic whiplash benefited from chiropractic care.

In the authors own study, they interviewed 100 consecutive chiropractic referrals of patients with chronic whiplash. Their results also showed that of the 93 patients who remained in the study, 69 of them, or 74 percent, found improvement. The researchers concluded their opening comments with the statement, “The results from this study provide further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms.”

Whiplash And Chiropractic, what to do after a car accident?

Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine (neck).  In a whiplash injury the joints between the spinal bones (vertebrae), discs, muscles, ligaments and nerves may be irritated or damaged.

When does whiplash occur?
Whiplash is commonly seen with car accidents but it can happen in any case where a person is hit from behind.  This can be from sports or even if someone playfully pushes you from behind a little too hard.

Symptoms of whiplash can happen within a two week period.  It doesn’t necessarily happen right after the incident.  Pain in neck, arm, hand and/or shoulders is common.  Limited neck movement, swelling, stiffness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, concentration or memory difficulty, insomnia may also occur.

How do you know if you have whiplash?
Most of the time you will have discomfort and not be able to move properly.  After car accidents it is common to take an X-ray.  It will show the bone positions in the neck and soft tissue swelling in the neck.   After a car accident it is common for most hospitals to take a CT Scan or MRI to see if there is any serious soft tissue or cervical disc damage.

How can whiplash be helped?
Well, first the swelling needs to be diminished.  Ice packs help this problem tremendously.  Then after the swelling is down, we can start working with getting the scar tissue and damage in the soft tissues of the neck repaired and functioning properly.  Gentle adjustments to the neck allow the neck to keep its curve and move without promoting more damage.  During treatment, exercised to strengthen the neck are performed.

In the past cervical collars were immediately put on patients after a car accident.  This is not recommended unless there is a severe injury with a lot of instability in the neck.  Normally, if a collar is worn and there is no severe damage, the muscles and ligaments in the neck weaken and this can promote further injury.

We have helped several patients that have come in with whiplash.  Soft tissue repair and neck adjustments can get you back to normal.  Just because you have a car accident and were hurt doesn’t mean you have to live your life in pain and dysfunction.  We can help!

Call our office today!

Precise Moves Chiropractic
Redwood City, CA
650-353-1133

Causes and Risks Factors Of Neck Pain

What are causes and risk factors for neck pain?

Neck pain is a common condition.  It can occur from a number of disorders and diseases of any tissues in the neck.

Common conditions that may cause neck pain are degenerative disc disease (decreased size of disc space) neck sprain or strain, whiplash, disc problems or nerves that are pulled, squished or stretched.

If you are involved in sports or have had a motor vehicle accident, you are at risk of having neck pain.  It is not only sport or car accident related.  Bad posture when sitting at the computer, office or even texting and watching television can put a strain on the neck.

Symptoms:

Neck pain is commonly associated with dull aching. It can keep you from sleeping if neck positions pull on the adjacent nerves.  Sometimes pain in the neck is worsened with movement of the neck. Other symptoms associated with some forms of neck pain include numbness, tingling, tenderness, sharp shooting pain, difficulty swallowing, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Problems with the neck can lead to headaches, pain in the jaw or face, shoulder pain.  Since the nerves of the neck go all the way to the fingers, it can cause pain all the way to the tips of the fingers.

What are the structures of the neck?

The neck has seven bones that protect the spinal cord.  Since the neck moves in every direction, there are several different angles of muscles and tissues.  Since we also have discs, skin, muscles, arteries, veins glands, the esophagus, trachea and larynx, any or all of these areas can be affected with dysfunction or stress on the neck.

How can chiropractic help neck pain?

Well, since your neck pain really stems from physical stress or nerve irritation, we specialize in keeping your nervous system and body functioning at its highest level.  We can easily diagnose and treat your condition safely and gently.  We also use physical therapy and massage to help you get better faster and keep you healthy!

Remember, any pain or sensation you feel is generated by a nerve.  So, if you have pain, a nerve is involved, we track the pattern of your nerve problem and find the area that needs care.  Then we show you how to keep good posture and give you exercises to stay healthy.  No drugs, no pain, just relief!