A Tulsa Chiropractor Talks About What To Do After a Car Accident
Two years ago this month my wife and I were involved in a car accident. While it was quite an impact and totaled my cherished muscle car, we were very lucky to walk away with injuries that required chiropractic care and not hospitalization. Don't get me wrong, we were pretty banged up and it took a few months of treatment to get us back to normal, but we are both grateful that it wasn't much worse.
Reflecting on the whole experience, I think I might have some useful information to offer anyone who has been involved in a similar incident.
- The first thing to do after the accident is to assess the injuries of everyone involved, including the people in the other vehicles. In our accident, the man who hit us was able to tell us he had a medical condition, which helped us know that we needed to call for emergency medical services. For emergency-type injuries, call 911. If none of the injuries require an ambulance or immediate attention, you can call the non-emergency police phone number to have an officer come and assess the cause of the accident and file a report to document who was at fault.
- Take pictures of the scene and exchange insurance & contact information with the other drivers and any witnesses. Be sure to take pictures of the backs of the cars involved, including the make and model of the car and the tag numbers.
- Once all the hubbub is over, the immediate medical needs are taken care of and the administrative details are done; go home. You will be shaken up, your adrenaline has gone into fight or flight mode, and you need a little time to calm down and rest. Drink some orange juice to replenish your adrenal glands, put ice packs on all the places that are starting to hurt, and just rest for a little bit.
- Write down what happened from your vantage point. You've probably told this to the police at the scene, but you will have to go through it several times again with the insurance companies, so it is best to get it on paper so you don't forget any details. This will come in handy in the event that your case has to go to court many months in the future.
- Once that's done, you should call the insurance companies involved. If the accident was not your fault you should still call your own insurance company to see if you have Medical Payments coverage, or "med-pay" to cover any medical bills you need to incur. Med-pay also covers your medical bill if the accident was your fault. Get claim numbers and start a file of information for the accident. In this file keep all the receipts for auto repair and medical bills, time you had to take off work, and mileage to and from doctor's appointments. Also keep notes of conversations with claims adjusters.
- If you have muscle stiffness or pain, call for an appointment with your chiropractor. Whiplash injuries, low back pain, sternum pain from the seat belt, knee, ankle and wrist pain are all common after car accidents. The sooner you seek treatment the faster you get pain relief. Even if you aren't in pain, it's good to be checked out after an accident. Sometimes the pain kicks in after a day or two rather than right after the accident. If you feel that you might have internal injuries, fractures or something other than muscle and joint pain, please also make an appointment with your PCP or ask your chiropractor if they know of a doctor who specializes in injuries for car accidents. We do!
- Consider legal help. There are a lot of complications and stresses involved in a car accident. A good attorney can make this process easier for you. We have a list of attorneys we've been impressed with after working together. We'd be glad to share the names with you.
- Get a copy of the police report in a few days. In Tulsa, you have to go downtown to the police station to pick this up. This document proves who was at fault in the accident and everyone from the doctor to the insurance companies need a copy of it. Police reports are only available to those involved in the accident.
- Take good care of yourself while you are recovering from the accident. Eat well, rest and try to manage stress so your body and mind can recover and heal. A car accident is a traumatic experience and takes a while to heal from. Treat yourself well.
We can help you recover from your car accident. We can diagnose your condition and help you get back on your feet. Contact Cole Chiropractic Clinic at 918-664-2273.