A patient recently asked about a minor car accident they were in 10 years ago. He was concerned about filing a claim with the insurance company for the vehicle that hit him. He sustained only minor injuries and felt bad about “suing” the other guys insurance. He decided not to treat his injuries. He denied any previous injury prior to the car accident and also indicates he has not had any other traumas since.
Now 10 years later at the young age of 35, he has severe degeneration in his neck and is having pain, numbness and tingling in both his arms and hands. He is unemployed at the moment and does not have any health insurance. Had he treated his injuries 10 years ago he likely would have needed maybe 10-20 visits of conservative physical therapy and chiropractic adjustment over a 6-8 week period of time and such treatment likely would have been paid for by the at fault insurance policy.
His treatment now will consist of a longer course of therapy and adjustment with disc decompression. He will likely need greater than 20 visits and may require 2-3 months to treat. He may also experience some exacerbation of his injury as gets older as his neck may never get back to 100%.
We certainly understand when a patient wants to be conservative following a minor auto accident. We understand that a patient might not want to be part of the perceived problem of people who rush out to sue over a car accident. But, this is a case where a patient has experienced long term symptoms and financial hardship due to the accident.
Our advice to to all those who are involved in even a “small” accident…. Get the necessary treatment immediately. It’s certainly not your fault when someone hits you and although we know that they are called accidents for a reason, understand that the physical and financial consequences of not treating your injuries correctly can cause you more “headaches” down the road.
You are entitled to treat your injuries and have the reasonable and necessary financial compensation to cover it. Don’t compromise your physical and financial future. If you are involved in one of these minor accidents, seek treatment immediately.