A car accident is a traumatic situation that no one wants to deal with. And, as if the shock of the crash isn’t enough, along come the headache and body aches that seem to persist long after the accident. Dizziness, soreness, headaches, and body aches are all common signs of whiplash that might not appear until days or weeks after the car accident. If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering how long you should wait before seeing a chiropractor.
So, when is it time to see a chiropractor? How many days after a car accident should you seek help?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the accident and your overall health. In general, however, it’s usually recommended that you seek chiropractic care within the first 72 hours after an accident. In many cases, people do not feel any physical symptoms directly following an accident. Days or weeks following an accident a person may begin to experience pain. By visiting a chiropractor immediately within the days following a car accident, they will be able to identify any injuries and ensure you receive proper care.
Keep reading to learn more about why this is the case and what to expect from your chiropractic treatment plan.
Why Timing is So Important After A Car Accident
As touched on above, there are a number of reasons why it’s important to seek chiropractic care soon after an auto accident. The first reason has to do with your overall health. When you experience an auto accident, your body is put through a lot of stress and trauma. It’s not uncommon for people to experience a rush of adrenaline following an accident. This can actually mask any pain or physical symptoms you might be feeling. For this reason, it’s important to see a chiropractor as soon as possible after a car crash. They will be able to perform a thorough examination and look for any hidden injuries.
Another reason timing is so important has to do with the insurance company. If you wait too long to see a chiropractor, the insurance company might argue that your injuries are not related to the accident. In the State of Florida, there is a law that states you can claim injury for motor vehicle accidents for 14 days following the accident. Even for minor injuries, if you don’t receive treatment within 14 days following a car accident in Florida, you can no longer claim injury and lose personal injury protection benefits.
In order to receive proper treatment and compensation, it’s important to seek care in a timely manner.
5 Important Steps to Take Immediately Following a Car Crash
No one plans to get into a car crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are more than 30,000 deaths and over 2 million injuries from motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. Unfortunately, not many people know what steps to take immediately following a vehicle accident. More often than not, the initial shock following an accident can make it hard to try and figure out the proper course of action. It is important to remember these steps:
#1: Call 911 Immediately After a Car Crash
Call 911 – This is the first phone call you need to make following an accident. Check to see if you, other drivers, or any passengers have any serious injuries. If your car is impeding traffic, and your car can be moved, safely get to the shoulder of the road.
Tell the 911 operator exactly where you are. Describe the location and any injuries. It’s best if you can provide specific details of your location, like landmarks or highway mile markers. By doing so the paramedics and police can get to the accident scene faster.
Even if it is a hit-and-run car accident – especially if it caused personal injury or damages over $500, call the police immediately.
#2: File An Accident Report
If the police come to the accident scene, they will file an accident report. If the police don’t come to the accident scene, you need to go to your local police station and file one yourself.
The officer who takes your report will likely ask you a series of questions about what happened. It’s important that you answer these questions truthfully but don’t try to guess any answers. If you’re unsure about something, tell the officer you are unsure and would like a moment to think about it.
Traffic crash reports contain important information, like the names and contact information of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident. The insurance companies will use this information to help determine who the at-fault driver is for the accident.
Be sure to get the badge number and contact information of the police officer at the scene of the accident.
If you do not have a copy of your crash report, you can request one from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Crash Records.
#3: Take Pictures and Record Details of The Accident
If you have a camera or smartphone with a camera, take pictures of the accident scene. These pictures can be used as evidence later on if needed. Try to get a few different angles of the accident scene and any damage done to the vehicles involved.
You should also take pictures of any injuries you or your passengers sustained in the accident. These pictures can be used to help document the injuries for insurance purposes.
Next, while waiting for the police to arrive, it is important to document a detailed list of the accident. List everything you can remember – this includes everything from the moments leading up to the crash (i.e traffic light colors, weather conditions, road conditions, oncoming traffic, any vehicles that were swerving, was the driver using their phone, symptoms of a DUI car accident, possible witnesses, etc.).
Also include details about yourself: Did you see the impact coming? Where were your hands at the time of impact? What was your head position at the moment of the crash? Did you hit any body part – especially your head – on any part of the car? Record details of the other motor vehicles involved, this includes license plates, any scratches or dents, and even bumper stickers.
In some cases, it is great to get a video of you, other drivers, or other witnesses describing the event in detail as well. The more information you can collect, the better.
#4: Collect The Contact Information Of All Drivers And Witnesses
If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information. It is important to get as many witnesses as possible. These witnesses can be used to help prove what happened in the accident.
You should also exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident. If the driver of the car is not the owner of the vehicle involved, collect all of their contact information and insurance information.
Record information of any person involved in the car wreck.
#5: Seek Medical Attention and Talk to Your Insurance Company As Soon As Possible
If you were involved in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible – even if you don’t think you’re injured.
By contacting your insurance company, you will start the claims process. Your insurance company will assign you an adjuster who will help guide you through the process.
The adjuster may ask you for a recorded statement. It’s important to consult with an attorney about your car accident case before giving any recorded statements.
How Chiropractic Care Helps With Car Accident Injuries
Chiropractic care is an effective form of treatment for many common injuries that follow car crashes, including whiplash, neck pain, back pain, neck pain, TMJD, and headaches. In addition to providing relief from these symptoms, chiropractic care can also help to prevent future problems by realigning the spine and restoring a person’s range of motion.
Diagnosis of Unknown Injuries
One of the main reasons to seek chiropractic care soon after a car accident is because they will be able to identify any injuries, even those that are not immediately obvious. Some people may not experience symptoms or know what symptoms to look for. An experienced chiropractor will be able to perform a thorough examination and look for any hidden injuries. Examples of hidden injuries include jaw dysfunction, ligament laxity, TBI, and a mild concussion.
Even disc injuries may not be obvious for days or weeks following a crash. Once these injuries are identified, they can be treated accordingly. Your chiropractor will also be the “Quarterback” to determine what referrals for imaging and treatment may be necessary throughout the course of your healing process. They’ll even coordinate these for you, so you don’t need to try to figure out who you should see or when.
Documentation for Legal Claims and Insurance Companies
Another reason to seek chiropractic care soon after a car accident is because the documentation and records can be used for legal claims or insurance purposes. When you see a chiropractor, they’ll document all of your injuries as well as create a treatment plan.
If you choose to pursue the legal route, this documentation can be used to support your claim and help you receive the proper compensation for your injuries.
Faster Recovery Time
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, seeking chiropractic care soon after a car accident can also help you recover more quickly. When your spine is in alignment, your body is able to heal more effectively. In addition, chiropractic care can help to reduce inflammation and pain, both of which can speed up the healing process. The longer a person waits to receive treatment, their body may heal in a way that is less than ideal, which can lead to long-term problems.
Car Accident Injuries To Look Out For
There are a number of different injuries that can occur as a result of car crashes. Some of the more common ones include:
-Whiplash: This is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly and violently thrown forward or backward. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
-Concussion: This injury occurs when the brain moves around inside the skull. Symptoms are widely variable but may include forgetfulness, memory loss, difficulty finding your words, temperament changes, irritability, changes in sleep patterns, trouble concentrating, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, vision problems, and anxiety.
-Cuts and Scratches: These are usually minor injuries, but can still be painful. Cuts and scratches can also become infected if they are not properly treated.
-Bruises: Bruising can occur when the soft tissue is damaged as a result of the impact of a car accident. Symptoms of bruising can include pain, swelling, and discoloration of the skin.
-Burns: Burns can be the result of airbag deployment or (in horrible crashes) fire. Burns can become infected if not treated properly.
-Strains and Sprains: These injuries occur when the ligaments or muscles are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. Symptoms of strains and sprains can include pain, swelling, and stiffness.
-Neck pain: This is a common complaint following a car accident. It can be caused by the muscles, ligaments, or discs in the neck being damaged.
-Back pain: This can be caused by the spine being out of alignment or by damage to the muscles, ligaments, or discs in the back.
-Headaches: These can be caused by a number of different factors, including whiplash, neck pain, or stress.
-Jaw Pain or Popping: When the head is violently moved forward, backward, or from side to side, the jaw also moves and can be injured. Symptoms include pain, difficulty opening your mouth all the way, deviation of the jaw to the right or left upon opening, as well as popping, clicking, or grinding.
-Loss in Range of Motion: This is frequently the case as a result of neck or back strain, inflammation, or injury.
-Stiffness: This can be caused by the muscles, ligaments, or joints being damaged. This is most commonly experienced in the neck and/or back, and it can point to signs of whiplash.
-Wrist Pain: It is often caused by gripping the steering wheel too tightly during the collision.
-Shoulder Pain: This can be caused by the seat belt restraining your arms during the collision.
-Hip Pain: This can be caused by the impact of the seat belt on your hips during the collision.
-Leg Pain: This can be caused by the impact of the dashboard or steering wheel on your legs during the collision.
-Ankle and Foot Pain: This can be caused by the impact of your feet being forced against the floorboard during the collision.
-Blurred Vision: This can be caused by the head being thrown forward or backward during the collision.
-Ringing in Ears: This can be caused by the head being shaken during the collision.
-Fatigue: This can be caused by the stress of the accident, as well as by any injuries that you may have suffered.
-Numbness or tingling in the extremities: This can be caused by damage to the nerves.
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms following a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A chiropractor will be able to properly diagnose and treat your injuries so that you can start on the road to recovery.
Other Important Injuries To Look Out For Following an Accident
Even in minor car accidents, a person can experience whiplash. No matter the severity of an accident, it’s best to seek medical treatment. Some injuries may not be seen at first glance. These can include:
-Spinal Cord Injury: This is a serious injury that can occur as a result of the spine being damaged. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury can include paralysis, loss of sensation, and loss of mobility.
-Traumatic Brain Injury: This can occur even in minor accidents and can result in long-term problems.
-Internal Bleeding: This can be caused by the organs being damaged as a result of the impact of the collision. Internal bleeding can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
-Fractures: These can occur when the bones are broken as a result of the impact of the collision. Symptoms of a fracture can include pain, swelling, and bruising.
-Concussions: These can occur when the head is injured as a result of the collision. Symptoms of a concussion can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A chiropractor can help properly diagnose and treat your injuries so that you can start on the road to recovery.
Contact Thrive! Wellness Center Today
At Thrive! Wellness Center, we’re experienced in reviewing and treating car accident injuries. Our team of doctors will work with you to create a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. We will work with you to make sure your injuries are taken care of, and you can get back to living your best life.