10 Mistakes that May Hurt Your Oregon Auto Accident Case

Auto accident and chiropractic coverage

After an auto accident, make sure you’re not making any of these 10 mistakes that could jeopardize your health care, result in unexpected bills, and cause far more stress than you started with.

Whether it’s a fender-bender, sideswipe, or you’ve completely totaled your car, an auto accident is a headache for everyone involved. Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence: most people will have 3-4 auto accidents in their lifetime. First things first: Oregon is a no-fault insurance state, so PIP (Personal Injury Protection) which is required by law at a minimum of $15,000, covers medical expenses no matter who may be at fault.

Mistake #1: Waiting to get medical care

Think of it this way–when your child doesn’t cry out in pain until they see you’re paying attention, it seems like they might be faking it. Similarly, this can also be the case with insurance companies–waiting too long makes it appear that you weren’t hurt. But in reality, not all aches and pains show up on the scene immediately. Instead, they can take time to surface. But if you don’t establish a history or seek medical attention quickly after your accident, your insurance company may second-guess your need for medical help.

Mistake #2: Giving the other insurance company too much information

When we say “other,” we mean the insurance company of the second party–a person who may or may not be at fault. You do not need to give them unfettered access to all of your medical records. For example, if you signed a medical release that documented a sprained ankle ten years ago, they may blame your current injury on that decade-old issue instead of covering your costs. Remember: your relationship is with your insurance company, not the other guys. (That’s why you pay that monthly premium.) For example, your auto insurance pays for your medical care resulting from an auto accident in Oregon.

Mistake #3: Accepting a settlement early

“Ooh, something shiny!” Don’t lose focus just because the other insurance company (or even your own) offers you a settlement mere days or weeks after your accident. It’s challenging to know the total cost of the auto accident, especially if your injury doesn’t come up immediately (see Mistake #1) and is a long-term problem that takes a lot of money and a lot of time to fix. By accepting this settlement, you’re cutting yourself off.

Mistake #4: Social media

Food pics, personalized wedding hashtags, silly face filters…social media is so much fun! That is until it’s used against you. Just say no to social media until your case is closed. Ex-girlfriends aren’t the only ones who creep on Instagram. Insurance companies can dig up past posts, pictures, or videos to be used against you, showing “pre-existing conditions.” Keep your life private and keep your accounts disabled.

Mistake #5: Not staying consistent with your medical treatment

Your doctor has set a treatment plan for you based on your injuries and care needs. If you get off track, it appears (to the insurance company) that you must be better or no longer gain benefit from the care. Some conditions improve and flare back up again, and your doctor knows which conditions are more likely to do this. The frequency and type of visits are significant factors when your doctor sets up your schedule.

Mistake #6: Lying or hiding information

Whether you withheld information or told a fib about just one detail of your accident, it can still be disastrous for your case and damaging for you and your health. Instead, tell the whole truth about your accident, your previous health history, and your current complaints. Use common sense–only you know all the details of your experience, and when you share all of it with your doctor, they can decide which parts are essential or not; they’ll make the best decisions for your care.

Mistake #7: Not speaking with your doctor

Withholding information from your doctor goes hand-in-hand with #6: communication is critical. Are you going on vacation? Tell us. Your treatment isn’t helping? Tell us. You are obtaining other care (massage, acupuncture, etc.)? Tell us. It’s essential to ensure your care is appropriate and we’re not doubling up on treatment. For example, if you are getting chiropractic care near your vacation home and you come back to our offices, and we also treat you, your insurance could reject our payment request because you’re doubling up on treatment. Then you get stuck with the bill, on top of having redundant treatment. That’s the opposite of a win-win situation. Talk to us, and we’ll listen!

Mistake #8: Not going to referred providers or tests

Any recommendation that your doctor makes is for you to get better. Read that again.
X-rays, MRIs, orthopedic surgeons–if we recommend it, we believe it has a chance for you to either learn more about your condition or change your treatment plan. Please go. Additionally, suppose you do not go to the auto insurance-dictated (required) Independent Medical Exam (IME). In that case, all insurance payments will stop, and you could get a bill for any unpaid services.

Mistake #9: Expecting a huge settlement

A car accident isn’t a get-rich-quick situation. Any settlement money that is paid out is to help cover the cost of future medical care, lost wages, and/or pain and suffering associated with your accident. So don’t expect your settlement to pay for that tropical vacation you always wanted.

Mistake #10: Quit Coming In

By now, we hope you’ve learned that your doctor wants what’s best for you. If you stop going to appointments, your doctor can’t determine your progress or make recommendations. So attend every appointment, even the last one. Your doctor will decide if you have, or may have any residual problems, the likelihood for re-injury, and other future recommendations. But you’re feeling better? Great. Come in one more time to let us know, so we can confirm it and congratulate you.

What if I made one (or more) of these mistakes already?

While some mistakes are smaller than others, it’s still important to talk with your doctor about the error. Some mistakes can be fixed! The doctors at Element Chiropractic have over ten years of experience with auto accident care and will help you find the best solution. Don’t let one accident become a bigger blunder because of bad communication or abandoned appointments.