Summer is upon us, so many of us will find ourselves hitting the road for long vacations or even day trips. As always be safe and have fun out there! However, sometimes other people get in the way of our safety and fun. Causing a car accident or motor vehicle collision. These are never pleasant experiences but a little bit of knowledge can help make these situations a whole lot less painful all around. I will take some time outlining what we should do to take the best care of ourselves and those we love. I have never seen a class about what to do in this process, it is usually something that we have to learn on the fly. Which can lead to extra stress and anxiety in an already traumatic situation.
We only get one body and it is not made out of glass, plastic, metal, or carbon fiber
First of all, make sure that everyone is alright. If any emergency medical attention is needed, call 911 immediately. If no emergency service is needed, it is best to exchange insurance information with the other driver as soon as possible. Do not trust the other person to follow you somewhere to exchange that information. As they may just drive away. Also, make sure their information is valid with a proof of insurance that matches their driver’s license information. Every motorist in the state of Oregon is required to have a minimal level insurance protection, some insurance plans even come with protection against being hit by someone who is uninsured.
After you have the other person’s insurance information, next call your insurance company (not the other motorists) to file a claim. Your insurance company will ask for information about the accident, including the other motorists information. The insurance companies will decide who was the at fault motorist for the collision. (This could affect the deductible or future premiums.)
The good news is that no matter who is at fault, all people in the car will be protected with a mandatory part of all Oregon car insurance plans, Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This PIP coverage is a minimum of $15,000 dollars (some plans have higher amounts) that can be spent over a course of two years to help you heal from any injuries sustained in the collision.
PIP is a wonderful thing for our protection, but frankly, it is something that insurance companies will try to have you use as little as possible. Be careful to not be talked into an early settlement for a small amount. Seek out healthcare professionals who you can trust, be evaluated, and the follow the treatment plan they lay out. Your costs will be covered fully by the PIP coverage, not even requiring co-pays. If healthcare professionals do not document your injuries, no matter how much pain you are in, the insurance company will have no proof that you require any treatment to heal from your injuries.
You can see any health care provider that you want to, as long as they accept PIP claims, just ask when scheduling. Chiropractors, physical therapists, medical doctors, acupuncturists, licensed massage therapists, naturopaths, and osteopaths are all providers that often take PIP insurance claims and help with injuries sustained in a car accident. Please make sure to use this coverage to heal from any injuries that you have in a timely fashion. The coverage runs out and is harder to use the longer you wait. If you have any trouble getting your needs covered by insurance company, seek legal representation from a lawyer that you trust who has experience working with collision victims.
We only get one body and it is not made out of glass, plastic, metal, or carbon fiber like our vehicles, so please do not worry only about getting your car fixed. Make sure your body is fixed as well so that you feel as well as you did before the collision. I have had too many people walk into my office and say, “I have not felt right since that car accident years ago.” Be safe, have fun out there, and make sure to take care of yourself and loved ones if you find yourselves in a motor vehicle collision.
Written by Dr. Jordan Wilde, DC
Milwaukie Spine and Sport