So you've been in an accident - Ouch! After recovering from the initial shock of the accident, it's time to really think about where you should receive your medical care.
You might be wondering, "Will one type of doctor be more effective in my case than another?"
Let's break it down...
1) The Hospital
Pros: If you received very serious injuries from your accident, such as a broken bone or a head injury, the hospital would be the best place to seek treatment for those injuries.
Cons: Hospitals are expensive and there is usually a long wait to be seen by a doctor. Unless you were involved in a very serious accident and it was not your choice that you were taken to the hospital, or you have a broken bone or head injury, there are other medical treatment options for you to explore that are not as costly and time-consuming.
2) Your Primary Care Doctor
Pros: Primary care doctors know your health insurance policy and can be a gateway to important referrals for other doctors, such as an orthopedist.
Cons: Some primary care doctors have no interest in being involved with car accident claims. Some doctors may actually refuse to see if you if they know your injuries are linked to a car accident. If you do manage to get an appointmet with your primary care doctor, make sure to go into that appointment having done your research and knowing which questions to ask, such as asking for an orthopedic doctor recommendation, etc.
If your primary care doctor refuses to see you then you should visit a hospital or walk-in clinc.
3) Walk-In Clinic (CentraCare, UrgentMed, etc.)
Pros: Walk-in clinics are an excellent starting point for accident victims. The doctors here will usually refer you to a specialist right away.
Cons: You may have to pay for the initial appointment out of pocket. Depending on the clinic, it can cost somewhere around $80 for the visit.
4) Chiropractor Clinic
Pros: Going to the chiropractor for treatment can be a good element of recovery if a doctor refers you. Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage pain.
Cons: Chiropractic care can extend for a long period of time. Since you will most likely be using your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits to pay for care, you will want to optimize those PIP benefits by putting the limited funds you have towards a more comprehensive analysis of your injuries.
5) Orthopedic Doctor
Pros: Orthopedic care can be very beneficial for car accident patients since joint injuries are one of the most common injuries after a car accident. Orthopedic doctors see several accident patients and they are highly experienced in seeing the nuances of accident injuries that other doctors might miss. An ortho doctor's opinion can be very helpful in proving that your injuries are related to your car accident.
Cons: While orthopedic care and treatment can be very helpful for car accident patients, it is not always a good idea to make an orthopedic clinic your first doctor visit after an accident. Why? Because orthopedic care is a highly specialized field and some ortho doctors specialize in hand injuries, while others are experts in back injuries. It's best to see your primary care doctor or visit a walk-in clinic first, as these doctors will know exactly which ortho doctor you should see.
6) Health Insurance
If you have a health insurance plan, you most likely have either an open access health insurance plan (PPO plan) or a managed care plan (HMO plan).
Pros: If you have a open access health insurance plan (PPO) you can see whichever doctor you like. If you have a managed care plan (HMO) you must go to your primary doctor first in order to get a referral for any other doctor, such as an orthopedic doctor.
Cons: Some primary doctors have zero interest in seeing car accident patients. If your primary care doctor is one of them, he or she may refuse to see you. (If this happens to you do NOT let it delay your medical care. Go to a walk-in clinic if need be.)
7) A Doctor that Treated You for a Previous Accident Injury
Pros: If you have been treated by a doctor for a previous accident/injury you should most definitely go see that doctor again. A previous doctor can see the correlation or the difference between the injuries, and probably knows more about your injuries than you do.
Do yourself a favor and go back to the person that knows you and your injuries.
What happens if you DON'T go to the doctor?
Suggested articles for continued reading...
- How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth?
- Tips for a Good Settlement in a Personal Injury Case
- What does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits Cover in Florida?
- Frequently Asked Questions about Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
- What are the Limitations of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits?