It goes without saying that a car accident is an unanticipated, unforeseen happening. No one leaves their house in the morning thinking that they are likely going to be in a serious life-altering motor vehicle collision that afternoon. No level headed driver secretly harbors an intent to behave recklessly, and injure themselves or others. The fact that these unfortunate events are unforeseen and unanticipated necessarily dictates that the initial, frontline care and medical attention received after an automobile accident is usually going to be rendered by EMTS, emergency room physicians, or potentially, by urgent care providers.
The reality is that most victims of an automobile negligence simply don't have the time or the ability to make a pre-planned medical appointment. Rather the urgencies and exigencies of the situation dictate that they be seen at local hospital emergency rooms.
Emergency room staff physicians generally have a specific set of criteria that they're going to employ in rendering medical care after any incident that results in personal injury. Certainly, a physical examination of the injured individual is conducted, and likely a medical history is taken. Emergency room doctors sometimes employ diagnostic testing to rule out any serious injuries. The goal of the E/R staff is to stabilize the car accident victim’s condition, rule out life-threatening or life-altering conditions, or conditions that require future hospital care, and then typically to discharge the individual, perhaps with some medication. Obviously, if the individual is more seriously injured, or in the unlikely event of some type of emergency surgery, then injured person would be admitted to the hospital. What I typically see is patients discharged from the emergency room with instructions to follow-up with a different doctor in an office setting, if "symptoms persist or worsen". What I sometimes see in the emergency room records is commentary from the triage evaluator about their opinions about facts of circumstances of the accident, remarkably, even commentary about the amount of property damage involved. Obviously, these comments are not medical findings or observations, and would seem to have little place in a medical records. Fortunately, Baltimore has many outstanding medical facilities, and many of the top and most highly rated car accident doctors are located in Baltimore.
Many of my clients over the years have found that the injuries that they have sustained in a car accident have consequences which simply don't resolve in a few days after that initial provision of medical treatment. As a personal injury and accident attorney, I’ve had many clients who have received the benefit of physical therapy.
Certainly a course of physical therapy overseen by a medical doctor is a fairly common treatment course in the wake of any accident or injury.
The goals of physical therapy include increasing strength, increasing range of motion, eliminating stiffness, swelling and pain, and generally assisting the individual’s recovery from the accident or injury. A course in physical therapy can be undertaken to help an individual deal with strains and sprains to various parts of their body. Commonly, cervical strains lumbar strains are the diagnosed injuries that a personal injury attorney will see after an automobile accident. Now, a course of physical therapy may also be appropriate after an individual has undergone a surgical repair of an injured body part in order to assist that injured person in returning to their pre-surgical level of strength, range of motion, and health. There are many modalities utilized by a physical therapist. As a long time personal injury lawyer, what I see is that methods typically include things like stretching and strengthening exercises, the administration of hot and cold treatments, electronic stimulation of the musculature in and around the impacted body parts. Some therapist also employ massage or other manipulative techniques on the effected body parts. Luckily, Baltimore Maryland has some of the best and top physical therapy clinics, providers and facilities in the state.
I’ve also had many clients who have benefited from a course of chiropractic care to deal with injuries sustained in a car accident or, frankly, and other incident causing personal injury. This seems to be particularly true in the case of individuals who have sustained injuries to their neck, or their back, or both. Chiropractic medicine is a separate discipline involving specific techniques. “The term “chiropractic” combines the Greek words cheir (hand) and praxis (practice) to describe a treatment done by hand. Hands-on therapy—especially adjustment of the spine—is central to chiropractic care. Chiropractic is based on the notion that the relationship between the body’s structure (primarily that of the spine) and its function (as coordinated by the nervous system) affects health.” The most common of these techniques is typically referred to as manipulation or adjustment. “A chiropractic adjustment involves using the hands or a device to apply a controlled, rapid force to a joint.”
Where an individual has sustained an injury that does not respond well to conservative measures such as therapy, or chiropractic care, or simply the passage of time, an injured person may seek consultation with an orthopedic physician. An orthopedist is generally going to engage in a more detailed analysis to find the specific origin, or etiology, of the underlined process causing the injured person’s pain and symptoms. The orthopedist may order additional diagnostic testing to get to the true root of the problem.
In some cases I’ve handled as an injury and accident lawyer, surgical intervention and repair of the injured body part was the only realistic option for my client to achieve a full recovery.
Depending on the nature extent and physical location, of the injury a neurosurgeon might be best suited to perform any specific surgical repair.
“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) happens when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain.” A heightened awareness of the consequences and potential long-term, lasting effects of TBI have lead to greater attention and scrutiny being given to the individuals suffering with them. Unfortunately, TBI is a fairly common result of a car accident. Individuals may suffer long-term headaches, vision problems, and perhaps ominously cognitive impairments. Individuals with these long-term effects may seek the guidance and counsel of a qualified neurologist in treatment options to assist them in dealing with their injuries.
Unfortunately, I've had some clients over the years who simply have been unable to, or have had lasting difficulty in dealing with, the emotional consequences of their accidents and injuries. In my experience as an attorney handling personal injury cases, thankfully, this is a rare occurrence. Nevertheless, I have seen cases where a client is just not able to cope effectively with the fear, shock, and fright of the event that led to their injury. Other individuals have had difficulty in coping with the consequences of the injury and its impact on their day-to-day lives. In these situations, we've had individuals who have benefited from a course of counseling with a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Individuals who have had poor recoveries from their automobile injuries, and continue to suffer with long-term intractable pain, may look to a different class of doctor for help. They may be individuals injured in a car or other accident who have:
- unsuccessfully tried conservative treatment methods such as physical therapy, or
- tried more invasive methods such as surgery with a poor outcome
They may choose to seek consultation and treatment with a pain management specialist, or a physical medicine and rehabilitation practitioner. Sometimes these doctors are referred to as a physiatrist. The treatment course in these disciplines necessarily acknowledges that they cure of the underlying condition has proven to be unworkable or impossible. The goal is to help the injured individual cope with what is acknowledged to be long-term permanent pain and disability. We’ve found that Maryland has a wide range of qualified, highly rated pain management and rehabilitative medicine practitioners.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 10/12/20.