How Physical Therapy Expenses Are Handled in Car Accident Claims

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Key Points:

  • After a car accident injury or related surgeries, doctors often recommend physical therapy treatments to help speed recovery or improve mobility.
  • Physical therapy can help to restore balance and stability to injured patients, thus preventing secondary injuries.
  • Insurance companies try to save money by ending claims before the victims know the full extent of their injuries and recovery process.
  • In Georgia, injury victims must usually pay for physical therapy first, and be reimbursed by the at-fault driver’s insurance later. If you do not have medical insurance, alternative sources of funding may be available.
  • Before you consider closing your claim and accepting reimbursement, be sure to discuss your accident and case with a personal injury lawyer.

If you’ve been in a car accident, the road to recovery can be a long journey. During this process, your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of action and may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan.

Physical therapy is often recommended to speed recovery, alleviate pain, increase mobility, or rebuild strength after injury or trauma. It can also help prevent future complications or secondary injuries from arising.

But, because physical therapy typically requires an ongoing approach to care, the costs for treatment can add up quickly. Luckily, if your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover the costs. 

Here’s what you should know about seeking physical therapy treatments after a car accident and how a personal injury claim may reimburse you for your expenses.

What Physical Therapists Do

Physical therapists are specially trained health care practitioners who help patients manage problems associated with injuries or other physical limitations. Physical therapy may be recommended to patients for pain management, stiffness, or other complications of an injury or surgery.

A physical therapist can evaluate and manage a patient’s strength and movement through the healing process, and make adjustments to increase balance and fluid movement, which can help lessen the risk of secondary injuries.

Is Physical Therapy the Same as Chiropractic Care?

Some of the processes used by physical therapists and chiropractors are similar. Both disciplines are practiced by licensed professionals who use a hands-on, holistic, and drug-free approach to restore pain-free movement and mobility over time. However, there are some differences between the two practices and their strategies for healing.

Physical therapists, for instance, concentrate on the muscles and soft tissues of the body, while chiropractors work with the spinal cord, nerves, and vertebra to achieve their goals. Depending on the type of injury a patient faces, a doctor may recommend working with one or both of these health care providers to improve the chances of a more successful recovery.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, both a physical therapist and chiropractor will provide careful records of your injury and progress toward recovery. These detailed medical records will be critical in maximizing your claim’s settlement.

When Are Car Accident Victims Sent to Physical Therapy?

After an accident, your doctor may determine that your healing will be improved by a course of physical therapy. Doctors may recommend this approach to help retrain and strengthen your body or restore functioning and balance as your injuries heal.

If your doctor suspects that your pain is related to a misalignment of the spine or spinal cord, they may suggest chiropractic care, or a combination of the two.

Why Attend Physical Therapy After a Car Accident?

First and foremost, following your doctor’s instructions is often the best advice when it comes to recovering from your injuries. Physical therapists use many techniques that ease stiffness and pain in areas that were overextended, stretched, or strained during a collision.

Practitioners may use a combination of stretching exercises, massage, heat, and electronic stimulation of muscles to help relieve the painful tension and discomfort caused by injuries. The same techniques can also help to build muscle tissue, which can help restore function more quickly.

On the legal side of things, if you have been prescribed physical therapy and you do not attend, you can expect insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to argue that you are not really hurt, or even worse, have been faking or exaggerating your injuries. Excuses that you don’t have time to attend physical therapy are seldom accepted by insurance companies, who will begin taking money off the table if they do not believe you are badly injured.

Personal injury lawyers who handle car accidents may have a harder time recovering full compensation for your injury, if you are not following the instructions of your doctors and therapists, or begin skipping appointment. Of course, if you are better and do not need care, by all means, you may stop going for more treatment. However, one of the most difficult conversations a lawyer may have with a client is to explain that a case has become harder to prove because not all of the recommended medical care has been received.

The Cost and Recovery Timeline of Physical Therapy

Because physical therapy usually requires an ongoing approach to healing, the recurring visits can become expensive quickly.

Individual sessions with a physical therapist can vary widely by location and provider but may run anywhere from $20 to $150 per visit. If you have health insurance, your coverage may pay for treatments; however, you’ll still be responsible for any co-pays and/or deductibles required out of pocket.

If you were injured in an accident caused by another driver, all costs for this care should be included in your personal injury accident claim. After an initial evaluation, your physical therapist should be able to provide you with an estimate of the time your therapy and rehabilitation will take.

Challenges Car Accident Victims Often Experience When Paying for Physical Therapy

It can be difficult to receive compensation for your medical care and other costs following an auto accident. Insurance companies are rarely eager to pay. It may be necessary to employ a legal team to help recover the compensation you deserve to pay for your expenses and medical care.

At The Millar Law Firm, we encourage our clients to delay the settlement of a claim until they know the full costs and timeframe healing will take. This can mean finding alternative means of funding your medical care. While your health insurance may pay for therapy initially, they may expect to be reimbursed later.

If you don’t have health insurance, it is sometimes possible to reach an agreement with your doctors to pay once the settlement is achieved. It is common for medical facilities like hospitals and rehab clinics to obtain a lien against the eventual settlement, giving them assurance of payment and you relief from the stress related to the mounting costs following the accident.

Whatever it takes, you should make sure you get the medical care you need.

Resisting Insurance Company Pressure to Settle “Quickly”

When you’ve been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, the law expects the at-fault driver to compensate you completely. However, insurance companies may pressure you to quickly settle your claim before you know how long medical care will be needed or how much it will cost.

In many cases, insurance companies try to save money by ending claims before the victims know the full extent of their injuries and recovery process. This is a recipe for financial loss for the victim because in most cases, once you accept a settlement, you cannot return later to have additional bills or compensation paid.

Before you consider closing your claim and accepting reimbursement, be sure to do your research or discuss your accident and case with a personal injury lawyer.

Most attorneys who specialize in personal injury law offer a free initial consultation so you can understand your rights and the best way to protect yourself. Also, many legal teams work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you will not be charged unless you win your claim.

Make Sure Your Claim Is All-Inclusive

When lawyers calculate the amount of the claim, they will ensure all your costs are considered. This means not only the hospital, doctor, and rehabilitation costs, but also time missed from work, medication expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and all other losses – even the costs needed to have someone mow your lawn while you’re recovering (assuming you have the receipts to prove it).

A good legal team will also include future costs in your settlement. This means the costs for future treatments or surgeries if they become necessary. Ideally, the accident should not have represented a financial burden for you or your family.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another person, you owe it to yourself and your family to be certain the negligent party pays for all your expenses.

Make an appointment with us today for your free initial consultation. After you have discussed your claim with one of our personal injury specialists, you’ll better understand your rights and know how to proceed.

Call today: 770-400-0000. We’re standing by to help.

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