Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries – Should you get a lawyer?

Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries – Should you get a lawyer?

Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

In my physiotherapy practice, I often see people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents.  These injuries range from minor to catastrophic, from simple whiplash/neck pain to nerve damage and broken bones.  It is, allegedly, the auto insurer’s responsiblity to provide adequate rehabilitation funding to ensure that the cliamant recovers from injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident.  Typically, the injured person would come see me for therapy, I would submit the treatment plan to the insurer, and upon approval of the plan I would proceed with treatment.  Treatment plans may include, but are not limited to, physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, and supplemental goods and services.  In simple cases, the plans are approved and the client receives treatment.  The insurance company is billed for this directly.  If this treatment plan is exhausted, usually within a 6-12 week period, and additional therapy is required, I would submit another treatment plan, and so on and so forth.   If only all motor vehicle accident benefit claims were this simple!

It is not uncommon for treatment plans to get denied.  This means that upon review of the treatment plan (which contains information regarding injuries sustained and treatment required), the insurance adjuster has deemed the request for rehabilitation services unreasonable and/or unnecessary.  The insurer will then proceed to set up an independent medical examination.  If this happens, I would recommended that you get yourself a personal injury lawyer.  Your case may go to mediation.

Personal injury lawyers work on contingency.  They only get paid if you win your case, meaning if you successfully settle with the insurance company.   If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and you need treatment, and if the insurance company is denying you treatment, you should get a lawyer to ensure you get the funding for treatment that you are entitled to for your motor vehicle accident injuries.  Otherwise, you may be left paying for therapy out of your own pocket (if you don’t have extended health benefits) or, you may end up with no treatment at all. 

If you have a lawyer, many clinics/therapists will continue to treat you even if your claim is denied, provided that they receive a written agreement from your lawyer stating that they will protect the clinic’s account in the settlement.  It only works in your benefit to have a personal injury lawyer representing you when it comes to insurance comapnies, especiallly when all they care about it their bottom line!

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and need a personal injury lawyer, you can visit dynamiclawyers.ca to find a personal injury lawyer near you.  Or, email me at physiotherapist@live.ca for more information.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor Vehicle Accidents – Did you get injured?

Injured in a motor vehicle accident?

Motor vehicle accident injuries are, unfortunately, very common occurrences.  If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, the process of getting treatment for your injuries may seem confusing with all the paperwork set out from your insurance company.  The purpose of this post is to clarify the process.  So, what should you do if you get injured in a motor vehicle accident? Depending on the severity of your injury, it is advisable to see your doctor first to clear any serious injury (unless of course you are taken directly to the hospital).

Injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents often present themselves in a time-delayed fashion.  For example, you may have just been rear-ended and feel fine, however it is not uncommon for you to develop neck and/or back pain in the days to week following the accident.  Often you will feel worse before you start to feel better.  Generally, common complaints include headaches, neck pain, dizziness, stiffness, numbness/tingling, and fatigue.

It is advisable to see your physiotherapist if you have pain or are injured after a motor vehicle accident.  Treatment will help ensure that you recover as quickly as possible and as completely as possible.  Medical/rehabilitation expenses should be covered by your auto insurance.  Here’s a general overview of how the process works in Ontario with respect to accident benefits claims:

1) You have 30 days from the date of the accident (also known as date of loss) to fill out and return an OCF-1 form to your insurance company.  No treatment plans will be approved unless this form is sent in by you, the applicant.

2) Your physiotherapist or other health care provider will complete an initial assessment and send in either an OCF-18 or an OCF-23.  This is the form that requests treatment and specifies what treatment is requested, how many treatments, and what the total cost of treatment is for injuries sustained as a result of the motor vehicle accident.  The insurer has 10 business days to approve or deny the treatment plan.  When a response is overdue, the treatment plan is deemed approved until advised otherwise by the motor vehicle accident insurance company.

3) The treatment plan is either approved or denied.  If it is denied you will be required to attend a medical assessment by an independent examiner as scheduled by your insurer.  The purpose of this assessment is to determine whether the items requested in the treatment plan are reasonable and necessary.

It may get a lot more complicated than this, but your physiotherapist or health care professional will walk you through the rest if it comes up.  Just make sure you send in your OCF-1 on time and provide your physiotherapist with the appropriate insurance information.

The sooner you get treatment after your motor vehicle accident, the better.  Back pain, neck pain, and whiplash due to motor vehicle accidents can turn chronic in many people if not treated appropriately and in a timely manner.