After a car accident, it is important to seek proper medical attention. If your injuries are severe, you may be treated at the scene of the accident or in the emergency room of a hospital. If the pain or discomfort of your injuries appears a few days after your accident, or grows worse as time passes, your first thought may be to call your primary care physician. Unfortunately, as soon as you mention that your symptoms are due to a car accident, it’s very likely that you’ll be told your doctor cannot see you.
It may be disheartening to hear you need to seek another doctor’s care, but there are a few sound reasons why your family doctor won’t see you after your auto accident. Seeking specialized care benefits you as well as your family doctor. Here’s why.
Why won’t your family doctor see you after a car accident?
For starters, primary care physicians are not accustomed to caring for auto accident injuries.
Your primary care physician handles a lot of illnesses and injuries every day, but probably not the kind of injuries sustained in car accidents. Whiplash, bulging discs, and soft tissue injuries require proper diagnosis, care, and documentation.
Other common injuries from vehicle accidents can include traumatic brain injuries, blunt force trauma to the chest, broken bones, ligament or tendon damage, and unfortunately much more. It’s crucial to get the proper diagnosis and treatment of your injuries from someone who is specifically qualified to do so.
Some doctors cannot properly bill for the visit.
There is another reason a family doctor won’t see you after your accident. When you are injured in a car wreck, your medical treatment is covered by your insurance policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage means you can see a doctor, regardless of fault, without having to wait for a possible lawsuit decision. Florida is one of a handful of no-fault states in the U.S., which means PIP coverage is mandatory on all insurance policies — every vehicle and vehicle owner have to carry at least $10,000 of coverage on their policy.
If you were injured in an auto accident, PIP coverage ensures you can seek treatment right away with the knowledge your care will be covered, instead of seeking treatment and worrying about whether or not insurance (or a possible lawsuit) will take care of your bills.
However, there is a caveat. PIP billing can be complicated, which means many primary care physician offices often choose not to see patients who will be covered by PIP. In addition to the fact that accident injuries may not be their primary area of focus, it makes sense to seek treatment from a car accident specialist.
While emergency rooms are capable of billing your PIP insurance, if you need a follow-up (or your injuries aren’t urgent), your appointment must be with a physician that specifically works with vehicle accident victims who is able to provide you with the best treatment, but can also capably and confidently handle PIP billing.
What are my options for treatment after a car accident?
If your family doctor refuses to see you after a car accident, you have several other options for treatment.
- Emergency room
- Urgent care facility
- Auto accident specialist
The staff of a hospital’s emergency room or at an urgent care facility will have the necessary training and equipment to diagnose your injuries, but because of the patient volume, you may experience long wait times. The standard of care can vary widely from one chiropractic office to the next, and even if you seek treatment from a chiropractor, it is advisable to get a diagnosis from a fully-licensed medical doctor.
Additionally, after you visit an emergency room or urgent care facility, you might require follow up with your doctor, as these sorts of facilities are designed to serve people who are involved in an immediate threat to their health and send them on their way. The diagnosis and treatment in an emergency facility, then, may be pretty basic, leaving you without the proper care, diagnosis and treatment for any injuries sustained. Since your family doctor may not take on your car accident case, you’ll still need to be seen by a physician who specializes in vehicle accident injuries.
The Auto Accident Doctor Difference
While it can seem like an additional burden to seek out specialized care for your auto accident injuries, there are a multitude of benefits. When you visit a doctor who specializes in auto accidents, not only does the office expertly know how to bill PIP insurance, but the doctor knows exactly how to provide and document your treatment.
Also, your case may rely on clear, detailed records that outline the exact nature of your injury and the treatment prescribed. Auto accident physicians are accustomed to dotting every I and crossing every T when it comes to documentation, and they will be there for you every step of the way, ensuring that you get the best care possible while also meeting all insurance filing demands.
Your family doctor wants you to be properly diagnosed and treated, and doesn’t want their accident documentation inexperience to come in between you and the care you need.
What if my insurance company says I have to see their doctor?
Your insurance company may require that you see a doctor approved by them. This is called an insurer’s exam. You have the right to a review and diagnosis from another doctor, and that doctor’s findings can be sent to the insurer’s preferred doctor. If your insurance company wants you to have an insurer’s exam, it is a good idea for you to have a diagnosis by an auto accident specialist as well.
While it may feel frustrating when your primary care physician refuses to see you after a car accident, your health and wellness are their number one concern. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get your injuries checked out quickly by a medical doctor that specializes in auto accident injuries.