Ambulance chaser. Ahh, the old term that encompassed so many people and professions. I remember adults when I was younger using this term for certain lawyers doctors chiropractors and so forth. But why? I mean aren’t patients that are injured in motor vehicle accidents entitled to treatment as well, and if they choose to seek compensation and treatment for their injuries is that so wrong?
Yes, if you were injured in an automobile accident you should see a chiropractor as long as your injuries are not life-threatening.
When discussing patient demographics amongst my colleagues all too often the question comes up what kind of people do you treat? For the last 11 years, I have considered myself a sports medicine chiropractor with an affinity for the general population as long as they are healthy and active. All too recently though over the last five years I’ve seen a huge uptick in the personal injury side of my practice.
It started about eight years ago when I was taking care of a lawyer friend of mine who worked with car accident victims. He had been injured in a pickup basketball game after somebody had checked him really hard. We started discussing the mechanisms of his injury and we both came to realize that a lot of sports injuries are impact-related; no different than car accidents except the impact usually happens between multi-ton vehicles.
Soft tissue injuries, like sprains and strains, and dislocations all respond fairly similarly despite the mechanism of injury or causation. The wide receiver that suffers a whiplash from a linebacker on the football field has very similar characteristics to the soccer mom who is struck from behind by a construction vehicle. I quickly realized that car accident patients deserve the same amount of attention as any other patient, and just because I treat these injuries does not make me a bad person.
Auto accident patients are usually caught between a rock and a hard spot in states that do not provide “no-fault coverage”. Everybody carries auto insurance. Well, we would like to think so but the truth is there are far more uninsured drivers than you would think. When you arrive at the hospital you are allowed to utilize your private medical insurance however in the background coverage is not so clean. Once your private insurance figures out that you were hit by another person they immediately deny bills and seek compensation from the at-fault insurance company. This leaves the patient with the inability to pay for their medical coverage despite its necessity.
Enter medical liens. If a practice is capable of doing so with good ethics and morals then you may find a chiropractor who is willing to hold your bill until the case settles. Sometimes this requires a lawyer to make sure that bills are properly paid by the insurance company. However, it is important to note that as long as the doctor is doing their job properly and within the confines of standard medical care your bills will be paid for. Do not avoid seeking medical care because of insurance concerns!
Since broadening my scope and opening my practice to car injury patients I have made it a devout effort and motto. “To treat these injuries according to science and not use them to provide a lavish lifestyle for me.”
In our practice, we see a variety of injuries caused by auto accidents. Sprains and strains broken bones dislocations concussions internal hemorrhaging all of it. All too often, patients present from the emergency room with a discharge paper stating soft tissue injuries. But where are they to go and what are they to do? Are they supposed to just heal on their own? If so are they going to be left with permanent problems and disabilities? This is where the disconnect happens.
Chiropractors go to school for eight years to learn how to diagnose and treat injuries appropriately. Our first six years of school are almost identical to medical school. We have the capability to diagnose any condition from a hangnail to cancer. A good chiropractor will be able to identify auto injuries that fall within their scope and treat them as such. A GREAT chiropractor will be able to identify injuries that fall outside of their scope and refer them to the appropriate provider. In Boise, Idaho our clinic has become one of the largest PI clinics for auto injuries because of our vast network of providers in the area.
Respectfully and with the utmost consideration many of the family practice doctors in the area are not equipped to handle these cases appropriately. Most of the time a simple prescription for muscle relaxers or pain medication and a referral to the physical therapist is all that is done leaving patients with lasting injuries and not healing correctly.
If you were a victim in a car accident you should see a chiropractor for your auto injuries.