It’s easy to panic after a collision, especially when other vehicles are involved. Your adrenaline is heightened, and there are dozens of thoughts circling your head… “am I OK?” “Is everybody else ok?” “Was this my fault?” How will this affect my insurance?”.
This is why we’re encouraged to keep post-accident information in our car, so we’re prepared should the time come. We’re going to walk you through steps to take immediately after a multi-vehicle collision (MVC), we’re also going to focus on how to take care of your self during this time. First, let’s take a look at some information the government of Alberta has to offer about local MVC’s, we can learn a lot from these statistics about preventing a serious collision in the first place.
MVC’s in ALBERTA
- 143,000 accidents happen a year across the province, 260 are fatal, 13,100 result in injury.
- The majority of accidents happen on Fridays, and most collisions occur during evening rush hour.
- Only about 3% of drivers do not wear seatbelts, from those statistics we see that injuries are three times more likely if you don’t wear a seatbelt.
- 10% of fatal collisions were caused by an impaired driver.
- 58% of crashes on a rural highway were caused by an animal.
- 25% of fatal collisions and 8% of injured victims were speeding.
THE FIRST 72 HOURS
Doctors have confirmed that the first three days after a collision are the most important. This is when swelling, especially from whiplash is at its peak. Permanent scar tissue can form on muscle from a soft tissue injury that isn’t treated right away. You’re also more likely to reinjure yourself if not treated properly during the first few days.
IN ALBERTA YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO TREATMENT
Albertains are entitled to accident benefits coverage, whether you were at fault or not. The care and benefits you receive are based on the injury.
- If you’ve suffered a sprain or whiplash, your health care practitioner doesn’t need to seek approval from the insurance company to proceed with treatment. Your practitioner will bill the insurer for your treatment.
- Depending on your injury, Alberta Healthcare Insurance covers 21 treatments. That doesn’t mean you’re maxed out though, private insurance companies pick up covering for the rest.
- For all other injuries, submit receipts that aren’t covered by Alberta Healthcare Insurance to your extended benefits provider for reimbursement.
Your insurance rates will not be raised from seeking treatment, so it’s recommended you get checked – regardless if you feel hurt or not. Injuries, including whiplash can sneak up on you, a chiropractor can help spot and prevent these injuries from worsening. As your primary health practitioner, your chiropractor will be able to submit your treatment plan directly to the insurance company; you don’t need to do a thing.
4 Points Health and Wellness have an extensive history of treating trauma using different modalities including acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, massage and chiropractic care.
ALL ABOUT WHIPLASH
During your examination, the doctor will need to gently touch and move your head, neck, and arms. He/she will be testing the range of motion in your shoulders and neck, as well as testing your reflexes and strength.
Whiplash is rarely noticeable on imaging tests, but it’s likely your doctor will order x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain.
When it comes to treating whiplash, your individual plan will depend on the extent of your injuries. The goals of treating whiplash are to control pain, restore range of motion in your neck, and to get you back to your daily activities. Pain is often treated with rest and hot or cold packs. Over the counter pain relievers or prescription medications may also be recommended for short term relief. Soft foam cervical collars are still used, but not as often these days as studies have shown that keeping the neck still for too long can decrease muscle strength, interfering with recovery. Still, a collar may be used for up to 72 hours to help limit movement during the day and even while you’re sleeping.
Your doctor will recommend specific stretching and movement exercises that you can easily do in your home. Acupuncture and massage can help speed recovery and reduce pain as well
From the moment your MVC happens until your last day of treatment, it’s important to keep notes and all records. As mentioned earlier, photographs of the scene and the police report are important to hang onto. You’ll also want to save all receipts, medical bills, and correspondence related to your injuries.
Finding a health and wellness center that offers a variety of experts and treatments such as chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture will help lead to a smoother recovery. Their priority should be your rehabilitation so don’t be afraid to ask questions or speak up when you’re feeling any discomfort.