Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: November 1, 2022 5:43am CDT
After an injury, one central question pops to mind after the shock wears off. What kind of treatment will you need? It is a reasonable and straightforward question whose relevance cannot be understated.
Finding the right kind of treatment, or even treating at all, can be a considerable debate following an injury. Your treatment boils down to two options in most car accident injury cases: chiropractor vs. physical therapist. Regardless of the circumstances of the damage, you will likely find yourself weighing the pros and cons of both treatment methods to ensure you do not overexert your finances in your effort to recover physically.
This article will guide you to understand what can make going to physical therapy or a chiropractor better following an injury sustained in an accident.
Let’s get started!
What can chiropractors do after a car accident?
Chiropractors are an often underappreciated form of pain management professionals. However, they remain one of the most sought-after treatment options following a severe injury due to a car accident. Even if you weren’t involved in an auto accident, you might have reservations about seeking out their services if you are unaware of the chiropractic treatments available for your injury.
Chiropractors offer a wide assortment of treatments designed to address neck pain and back pain, which is very common among those who have been in motor vehicle accidents. One of the most commonly known chiropractic treatments is your standard adjustment.
Spinal adjustments are the bread and butter of the chiropractic industry. They are among the most common treatments sought whenever experiencing neck pain, back pain, injured ligaments, musculoskeletal issues, sprains, or whiplash. Some other treatment avenues chiropractic can offer include temperature therapy and even massage therapy for migraines.
However, perhaps the most valuable chiropractic options are only available to those clinics that staff a medical doctor amongst their specialists.
This requirement is because non-surgical mechanical spinal decompression therapy requires a qualified specialist to perform. However, the progressive nature of this kind of chiropractic treatment comes at a heady cost. So, it is crucial to make sure that you need chiropractic treatment, so you do not needlessly incur further medical expenses.
It is important to note that chiropractic treatment is sought for severe car accident injuries and minor issues afflicting the spine.
To that end, chiropractic care should probably not be sought out unless recommended by the physician examining you after the initial injury. Otherwise, the insurance adjuster for the defendant might attempt to delegitimize the treatment as non-essential.
You may be required to obtain x-rays, depending on the types of injuries. If you had an emergency room visit, your attorney could obtain this information from the doctor on your behalf.
Chiropractic care can be an excellent avenue for recovery following a severe injury. That alone has made it a common first stop following an injury and a standard treatment cited during personal injury claim negotiations.
What can physical therapists do after a car accident?
Physical therapy is a term that you have undoubtedly heard a great deal about. It is a term freely thrown about for years for athletes, injury survivors, and general recovery. However, physical therapy covers a broader range of treatment options than you might have otherwise guessed.
Physical therapists can specialize in different injury types and tailor their programs accordingly. For example, physical therapists specialize in women’s health, neurology, orthopedics, sports injuries, and so much more.
This range makes physical therapists a remarkable resource for recovering from injuries since you will almost always find one who specializes in your particular injury type.
As for what to expect from your physical therapy appointment, that is something a little more subjective. The fact is, no set regimen works for everyone.
The physician will guide each patient and the regimen you will be using for your specific injuries. However, physical therapy is an essential part of recovering from the strain of a traumatic injury and is hard to dispute.
However, like chiropractic care, it must come as a prescription from the doctor treating you for your injury or your primary care physician to be taken seriously. Independently seeking physical therapy without guidance can be a little more challenging to justify in the eyes of the defendant’s insurance negotiator.
Ultimately, your physical therapy regime will be determined by exactly where the injury is and how severe it is. Therefore, physical therapy is an equally valid and essential step in the recovery process following a significant injury. First, however, you must prove its validity to your case.
Proving your case brings us to the ultimate question of which one you should pursue.
Physical Therapist vs. Chiropractor for Settlements
Chiropractic treatment or physical therapy after a car accident? It is a valid question with an answer that you may have expected in the first place: both.
The reality is that it does not have to be one or the other, nor should it. Both chiropractic care and physical therapy play critical roles in recovering from the injuries you suffer following an injury.
One choice is to use both because chiropractors and physical therapists share several similarities and several differences that make them equally important to your recovery.
Chiropractors and physical therapists alike are highly educated healthcare professionals that will use exercises and stretches as part of the recovery process, specialize in non-surgical treatment, and use options like heat therapy to promote healing. However, regardless of their similarities, the role of the two types of providers is different.
According to chiropractors, the most crucial distinction is to help you recover from the pain that is already there and correct the problematic part of your body. For example, suppose you have been in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or any situation resulting in chronic pain and misalignment in your spine. In that case, they will use exercises and treatments to correct these misalignments and provide you with pain relief.
Meanwhile, physical therapists are there to aid in the post-recovery effort and strengthen the compromised parts of your body. After you suffer an injury, the afflicted area naturally becomes weakened.
So physical therapists will employ exercises and treatments to help reinforce the area until it is approximately back to what it was before the accident and prevent any future damage.
However, determining which of the two you want to pursue is moot unless you can prove that they were necessary. You might have noticed the reiteration of getting the green light from your physician before seeking treatment from a chiropractor or physical therapist.
It’s a critical step because you must prove that your treatment was necessary is crucial for any personal injury claim—especially when dealing with treatments that are not generally respected as they should be.
Your treatment directly impacts how your accident case resolves; the only question is how that exactly works.
How do physical therapy and chiropractors affect claims?
A personal injury claim is a common legal proceeding that often does not even require you to see the inside of a courtroom in most cases. However, the type of treatment you seek to help you recover from your injuries is essential for how the case breaks down.
The simple reality is that, when dealing with a personal injury claim, you are trying to earn compensation from the individual responsible for your pain, suffering, and sudden influx of medical costs. It is a reasonable expectation, especially since most insurance companies will try everything in their power to minimize the amount of money to be paid out in the settlement.
Seeking out the appropriate treatment is crucial to making it clear that the injury you sustained due to the defendant’s negligence was significant and that you needed medical attention. When recommended by the physician who examined you following the injury, both chiropractors and physical therapists are recognized as medical costs incurred due to this accident.
However, this is where things become a little trickier. Waiting too long to seek out treatment after it has been prescribed will significantly weaken the strength of your case and make your attorney’s job that much more complicated when negotiating a fair settlement.
So, if you are told to see a chiropractor by your physician following the injury, make an appointment as soon as possible to ensure there is no delay in removing any reasonable doubt in the insurance adjuster’s mind.
Conversely, treating too frequently could make it seem like you are overtreating, so do not seek any treatment beyond what your doctor orders unless you are still genuinely experiencing pain.
A personal injury claim settlement is designed to compensate you for the costs of your medical treatment and allowances for damages above all else. Requiring both a chiropractor and physical therapist as needed increases the odds of a maximized settlement to pay for that care.
The bills for both facilities will be factored into the negotiations. Your total medical costs serve as the starting point of all negotiations for a personal injury settlement and will have to be justified to the claims adjuster by your attorney.
Proving the necessity of medical treatment is not always an exact method, as some treatment avenues are taken at face value. In contrast, the others need to be proven due to preexisting conceptions. Unfortunately, chiropractic care and physical therapy are firmly in the latter camp.
Generally, your attorney will handle the particulars of proving the necessity of your treatment, but following the previous advice helps them do that successfully. Any minor detail that could draw the need for your care into question is something the adjuster will jump on to avoid paying out for the associated costs.
It becomes a more straightforward matter if you need continued treatment following the initial stages. Future medical costs are often factored into settlement agreements, and future costs for rehabilitation are no exception. For example, suppose you will need physical therapy or chiropractic care in the foreseeable future. In that case, your attorney will bring that to the adjuster’s attention as further evidence of its necessity.
How to Prove Necessity
Proving the necessity of physical therapy or chiropractic care is not a simple matter, but there is information your attorney will request from your physician to help. Specifically, copies of your medical records alongside your bills will serve as proof.
By providing your attorney with copies of your records personally, you can make it a little easier for them to gather the information than it would otherwise be. They would be obligated to send paperwork such as medical authorizations to the provider and await their response, which could be longer than they would prefer.
So, consider requesting your records in person at your subsequent appointments. By cutting out the middleman, you can expedite the resolution of your case.
Wrapping Up: Physical Therapy vs. Chiropractic
Following a severe injury at the hands of another’s negligence, you will need to get checked out no matter what.
However, determining the appropriate form of rehabilitation does not have to be a matter of either-or, as chiropractic treatment and physical therapists can be of equal value to your recovery.
Ultimately, there is only one best choice for the sake of your claim when it comes to choosing a physical therapist versus a chiropractor. The only best choice is for you to follow your doctor’s directions and treatment plan. That is how you will maximize your physical and financial recovery on your personal injury claim.
However, there remains another concern when pursuing personal injury claims despite all this confusion, specifically your everyday living costs.
Fortunately, there is an option if you have some trouble making ends meet after hiring your injury lawyer on a contingency fee basis. Low-cost pre-settlement funding services can help you pay your rent or utility bills if you’re injured and too hurt to work. The best part is that you are only obligated to repay the lawsuit funding with your case proceeds if you settle or win your case.
For that, we at Express Legal Funding are here to help. So, if you need financial aid during your injury legal battle, you can contact us anytime for a free consultation to learn more about pre-settlement funding and if it’s the right choice for you.
About the Author
Aaron Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth. He is recognized as an expert author and researcher across multiple SEO industries.
Aaron Winston earned his title “The Legal Funding Expert” through authoritative articles and blog posts about legal funding. He specializes in expert content writing for pre-settlement funding and law firm blogs.
Each month, thousands of web visitors read his articles and posts. Aaron's thoroughly researched guides are among the most-read lawsuit funding articles over the past year.
As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, Aaron has devoted thousands of hours to advocating for the consumer. His "it factor" is that he is a tireless and inventive thought leader who has made great strides by conveying his legal knowledge and diverse expertise to the public. More clients and lawyers understand the facts about pre-settlement funding because of Aaron's legal and financial service SEO mastery.
Aaron Winston is the author of A Word For The Wise. A Warning For The Stupid. Canons of Conduct, which is a book in poetry format. It consists of 35 unique canons. The book was published in 2023.
He keeps an academic approach to business that improves the consumer's well-being. In early 2022, Aaron gained the Search Engine Optimization and the Google Ads LinkedIn skills assessment badges. He placed in the top 5% of those who took the SEO skills test assessment.
Aaron's company slogans and lawsuit funding company name are registered trademarks of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has gained positive notoriety via interviews and case studies, which are a byproduct of his successes. Aaron R Winston was featured in a smith.ai interview (2021) and a company growth case study (2022).