by Michael Bryant of Bradshaw & Bryant

Pain is a physical feeling that only the injured person can understand. One person’s expression or amount of pain may differ from another’s, even when the injuries are similar. It is essential to know that pain is almost impossible to quantify other than having it explained. You may see peoples’ responses to pain, which is the suffering part of the injury, but there is no test to know what pain a person is in.

One of the first things to do after a car accident and feeling neck pain is to get the necessary care, despite health insurance saying a facility is “in or out of the network.” Ensure the doctor or nurse is informed of the reason for the visit and what happened so it is noted in the medical records. Always follow up with any needed continuation of care, such as follow-up doctors’ appointments, needing to speak with a specialist or receiving any chiropractic care. Although medical bills can stack up quickly, do not worry, as insurance companies will typically cover the costs. Some states, such as Minnesota, have no-fault. If that is the case, no-fault will take care of the medical bills as a part of your policy versus going with a health insurance company. Talking to a legal professional who does this type of work can make a big difference in knowing what your rights are and what coverages you have available.

It is easy to fret about all the medical bills stacking up. The first step would be determining your primary coverage and whether it would be no-fault or health insurance. Depending on the state, there may be certain rights that those carriers have to get money back after the collision. In the long run, there is a claim you make against the person at fault, which would be the third party. It also includes other coverages such as uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM).Regarding your type of health insurance policy and the state’s laws, subrogation rights can vary greatly. Specifically, if it is an ERISA policy, federal law may have a right to get every single dollar back. In each situation, getting the policy helps understand the carrier’s position.

Dealing with the third party may involve many phone calls with the adjuster, which can be hazardous to the case. Statements without understanding the law or your overall legal rights can be used against you even though they are well-meaning. Try to keep adjusters (insurance agents) informed of changes in medical care, employment or anything related to the motor vehicle accident.

The most important thing is to follow up with your doctor and take care of yourself. Often, a few weeks of rest early on can make a long-term impact versus trying to gut your way through it and make things worse. Beyond that, looking at your overall lifestyle, including exercise, sleep and diet, can affect how you heal in the long run