How interesting that I had planned on writing about a related topic and on the front page of the Arizona Republic today they covered the deadliest Phoenix area freeways. After this holiday weekend when I was part of the parade of vehicles attempting to get away with family and friends I can honestly say that there are a lot of people that should not be driving on our streets or highways. If you have lived for any period of time in the Phoenix metropolitan area you know what a thrill it is to drive not only on our freeways but also almost any street in this city. The paper’s article concentrates on the fatalities on our freeways. My subject matter is the more common injuries sustained in automobile accidents. An important thing to remember is that whether an accident is caused by a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall or any other traumatic event the tissue that is injured goes through the same healing process. Of course, due to the acceleration forces in a vehicular accident the soft tissue injuries will most likely be more severe.
I cringe when I hear from our news casters that there was a minor automobile accident and that the occupants of the vehicle only had minor injuries. How did the announcer come up with that medical opinion. Research has proven that soft tissue injuries occur at a speed as low as 8 miles per hour. To clarify, soft tissue injuries include muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, organs etc. but not bones. For some victims, especially Fibromyalgia patients, healing of these soft tissues will take 3 to 5 times longer due to the weakness of the immune system. Women are twice likely to get injured from an automobile collision than men due to larger muscle mass in the male. Another important fact after an accident is latent symptoms that show up days, weeks or even months after a trauma. This is common after an automobile accident. As for the insurance claim that if there is no vehicle damage then there is no injury that is a common misconception. There may be hidden damages underneath the vehicle, or to the engine or inside the trunk. It’s important to take your car after an accident to a reputable repair shop that checks for all possible damages and not just look for visible damages.
Here are some points after an automobile accident that you should keep note of. This information is for your insurance company, lawyer and doctor. Regardless of who is at fault you should keep note of this information.
- Automobiles involved – if possible year, make and model
- Seat belts employed?
- Airbag deployed?
- Where vehicles stopped or moving and what speed limit?
- Did any of your body parts hit anything such as head hit widow ?
- Any loss of consciousness, confusion, disorientation after the accident and any sleep problems, nightmares since the accident?
- Any headaches since the accident? If headaches prior to accident have they changed?
- Any pain , numbness, tingling, weakness, or reflex changes anywhere on the body?
- Any preexisting problems and now are they worse?
- How did you feel immediately after the accident? Any new symptoms since the accident?
- Prior medical records for the past 5 years with doctor’s names.
- Your automobile insurance dec sheet that shows what you are covered for?
- Did police come to the scene of the accident? Did you obtain a police report with a listing report that states who was at fault? Any photos of the damage to vehicle or visible bruises, cuts, abrasions?
- Any witnesses?
- Any vision changes since the accident?
- Any gap of treatment between accident and start of treatment care?
This appears to be a lot of work for many innocent accident victims but when our patient is involved in an automobile accident this information will mean the difference between a successful settlement for the injured patient or a long drawn out legal case.
Try to enjoy this holiday season accident free.