There are myths and confusion around Auto Accidents, I hope this article helps clear some of them up.

Auto AccidentsAfter people have auto accidents and or a personal injury, its hard for them to know who to listen to. I’ve been treating patients who have been in auto accidents, falls and work injuries since 1994 and some of the stories I’ve been hearing these days are so confusing they are almost becoming an urban myth.

After people experience, either auto accidents or slip and fall injuries, they often have a lot of  fear and confusion. So much so its hard to know what to do.  Lots of people these days (Most of whom have no qualifications to do so.) seem to give advice as per who to see, how long until you should be recovered, and even how much your health care should cost.  What YOU need to focus on in these situations is one thing,  your own health and getting better! There is a phrase seldom used bu anyone but the informed when it comes to auto accidents, pre-injury condition. You deserve to be at least as health as you were before your auto accident when you end your course of treatment.

These days its clear that insurance companies are not your friend. Not even your own carrier. They are far more worried about cost containment than restoring you to pre-injury condition.  When you have suffered an auto accident, they often contact you and start to negotiate with you to settle your case when you are at your emotional and physical weakest and most vulnerable, when you are sitting at home alone and in pain after the auto accident. This works to their advantage not yours. Please make sure you are feeling as good as you did before your auto accident before you consider signing anything (Usually, signing your rights away if my experience is correct.) I highly recommend talking to an attorney before you close your case.

Some of the odd things I’ve been hearing lately are:

1) The cost of the damage to your automobile or property should in some way relate to the cost of your health care. Another part of this thought is, your health care costs shouldn’t exceed the cost of the repair to your vehicle. This is absolutely not the case. Each case is individual and as varied as the individuals who get injured.

The speed of impact necessary to induce connective tissue trauma has been documented at one point five miles an hour. This is the slightest fender bender and it may not leave any visual damage to the vehicle.  When treating people in these situations, your practitioner has to be aware of the fact that when the car crumples in a high speed impact, the actual crumpling of the metal is absorbing impact. When it doesn’t crumple the entire impact is transferred to the passenger compartment. Remember your physics, force equals mass times velocity. So two thousand pounds of car hitting you at one mile per hour… do the math its surprising.

Another factor is that many people go into these accidents with pre-existing conditions that are asymptomatic yet after a seemingly innocuous impact can become severe complications. These people are referred to in the law as “Eggshell Victims.” It is not your fault you have a pre-existing condition when you were in an accident. This could cause far worse symptoms than those experienced by a more mechanically correct person. Often times, three people in the same car will have very different types of symptoms after an accident.  What you need is an Attorney who understands this concept and a Doctor who can appropriately explain and Document it.

2) Another thing I’ve heard of late “Juries don’t like Chiropractors.” I can honestly say in seventeen years of practice I’ve only been to court once and a binding arbitration once. Both times my patients side prevailed.  These cases rarely go to trial, and when they do,  its really a question of can your Chiropractor effectively walk his talk.  Provided your practitioner can document your issues, progress, and articulate this in a cogent fashion you should be safe with whomever you choose to assist you with your situation. Juries like organized informed people who can articulate what it is that they are doing/have done and why regardless of the letters after their name.

Oddly enough the people who have undermined the confidence of patients that I’m aware of, seem to be those who are not licensed to practice, diagnose, or adjudicate a case in or out of court. I’m always amazed how the least informed out there are often the most opinionated about things they don’t understand.

My advice to you….. Please find a team of professionals you trust and follow their advice. Don’t listen to the advice nurse in your plan about legal conditions, and PLEASE don’t think your insurance adjuster has your best interests at heart when they offer you some amount of monies telling you to sign off on your case.  I’m not saying they are not inherently evil, just greedy and amoral which is not the same thing.

I hope this is helpful to you particularly if you are reading this at such a trying time as after an accident.

Wishing you good health,
Dr. Ed Camp