Motor Vehicle Accidents

Symptoms, Treatment and What To Do

Overview Of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents happen frequently in the Portland Metro Area.  We have lots of people driving and some not so great weather conditions that contribute to optimal crash conditions.  When a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident there are a lot of things that happen both to their body and their life.  These can include fixing or replacing a car, filing police/accident reports, setting up a claim, taking time off work, getting treatment for injuries, and much more. 

This article is a great starting place to learn about the motor vehicle accident process.  We cover what you should and shouldn’t do, what you should document, how car insurance works for medical care, your rights, common injuries and symptoms and treatment options. 

Our office has been through this process many times and works with several law offices to provide a smooth painless process for those who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Do – Don’t – Document


  • Seek medical evaluation and care immediately
  • File a medical claim with your insurance company if you are injured
  • If you were not at fault, get a consultation from a personal injury attorney
  • Read and understand your rights in a motor vehicle accident


  • Don’t talk with the other driver or insurance company about the accident other than to get their info
  • Don’t sign anything from your or the other drivers insurance company without consulting a lawyer
  • Don’t post about your accident on social media
  • Don’t make statements about your injuries or your case
  • Don’t take phone calls from the insurance companies or other driver until you have consulted with a lawyer


  • Write down your memory of the details of the accident and circumstances
  • Take photos of the cars
  • Take photos of any visible injuries
  • Make a log of all work you missed because of the accident or injuries
  • Take down the other drivers information including:
    • Drivers license number (or a picture of their ID)
    • Home address
    • License plate number on the vehicle
    • Make and model of the vehicle

Insurance Information

Understanding Motor Vehicle Insurance

It is important to understand that once you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, your and your insurance’s interests are no longer aligned.  When the money starts flowing the wrong direction, many insurance companies stop looking out for your “best interests”.  This is important to know because every time you interact with them, they may try and solicit information from you to limit their liability.  The the right is a list of common things to look out for.

Insurance Companies May Attempt To Get You To:

  • State that no one was hurt
  • State that injuries were minor or minimal
  • Downplay the accident’s seriousness
  • Not file a claim
  • Sign statements related to injuries or treatment
  • Accept a small settlement upfront and agree not to hold them liable for additional damages
  • Give up your rights to continued care for a small settlement
  • Sign away your right to file a lawsuit

Reasons To Consider Getting A Lawyer

  • Most lawyers take a portion of the settlement they get for you as compensation.  If they don’t get you anything, you don’t pay anything.
  • Lawyers tend to reduce insurance funny business, like trying to get your lifetime of medical records instead of just those related to the accident.
  • People represented by lawyers, in our experience, tend to not have their need for medical care questioned as frequently as those without.
  • If you are represented by a lawyer, the insurance companies and other driver must talk to them and cannot call you
  • In our experience, people with lawyers seem to receive payments for more of their losses than those without (ex: pain and suffering, lost ages, etc.)

Your Rights

Pen, glasses and paper with insurance law written on it.

What You Should Know

  • You have a right to be represented by a lawyer
  • Oregon law requires that motor vehicle insurers provide $15,000 in personal injury protection per person for medical expenses related to an accident
  • Oregon law also provides you two years to treat for injuries sustained in an accident
  • You may be entitled to lost wages for time off work due to injuries
  • You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering
  • You are not limited to your health insurance network, you may see any medical professional of your choice

Understanding The Process

  • It is important to seek care immediately.  Failing to do so may result in your insurance company denying your claim as unrelated to the accident.
  • Don’t use the other persons claim information. FILE YOUR OWN CLAIM through YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER.  Filing a claim should not affect your rates if you were not at fault.  Using the other persons claim number will result in your medical bills not being paid and your chart notes being sent to the wrong insurance company possibly damaging your case.
  • Stay consistent with your doctors treatment plan, failing to do so may result in your insurance company denying coverage.
  • Consider getting a lawyer to protect your rights.

Common Injuries And Symptoms of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Overview Of Injuries And Symptoms

Motor vehicle accidents can be responsible for a vast amount of different injuries from bruising to broken bones.  Sometimes symptoms begin instantly but frequently they are delayed by several days to a week.  This is actually a normal response.  Delay in symptoms is usually caused by the body’s reactions to traumatic events and circumstances which is to pump your system full of adrenaline.  Adrenaline can mask pain, give you energy and reduce the symptoms of injuries in these situations.  The big problem with this is that it tends to delay treatment for the actual injuries.  In most cases the sooner you start treatment, the better your potential outcome and the faster you will get better.

Commonly Associated Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

  • Abrasions and Cuts
  • Anxiety/PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Back Injuries
  • Broken Bones
  • Concussions/TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Connective Tissue Damage
  • Hand and Wrist Injuries
  • Herniated/Bulging Disks
  • Internal Bleeding/Injuries
  • Muscle Damage and Tearing
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Whiplash

Commonly Associated Motor Vehicle Accident Symptoms

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Blurred Vision
  • Bruising
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Knee Pain
  • Muscular Stiffness
  • Neck Pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • Numbness
  • Shoulder pain


We have listed many of the common injuries and symptoms in this section but it is important to know that these are only some of the potential injuries and symptoms.  Accidents are unpredictable and there is really no telling what injuries could be sustained.  In the case of motor vehicle accidents, it is imperative that you get evaluated as soon as possible to determine if there is a need for emergency medical intervention.  We recommend that you be evaluated the same day by a medical doctor.  Getting evaluated helps to determine if there are any life-threatening injuries or if you can safely be evaluated and treated by a physical medicine professional.

Treatment Options for Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

Overview Of Treatment

Treating motor vehicle accident injuries is complex.  The body was not designed to move or stop motion at the speeds at which most motor vehicle injuries are sustained.  This typically leads to a different, longer and more intensive road to recovery than most other types of injuries.  Many factors come into play when treating motor vehicle accident injuries including age, condition, and the circumstances of the accident.  When treating injuries like these it is very important to begin as soon as possible and to notate the details to the furthest extent possible.  These details will help paint a picture of the injuries sustained showing the doctor areas they need to evaluate.  Every injury from a motor vehicle accident is unique.  It is important to tailor the care for such injuries to the individual needs of the patient.  Approaching these injuries in such a manner can help to expedite the healing process and prevent the body from developing compensation habits to deal with the pain.

Common Treatments For Motor Vehicle Injuries

  • Chiropractic Adjusting
  • Cupping
  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Exercise Rehabilitation/Therapy
  • Flexion/Distraction
  • Home Exercise Programs
  • Ice Therapy
  • Instrument Assisted Manual Therapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Manual Traction
  • Massage Therapy
  • Moist Heat
  • Taping
  • Ultra Sound