From over 20 years of experience treating patients involved in car accidents, it is very important to know the ins and outs of the entire process so there won’t be any surprises. Dr. Tyler Hamel is an experienced, top rated chiropractor in Kingwood, Texas and he has seen thousands of car accident patients over the past couple decades.
There is some crucial information people need to know about when they are in a car accident to avoid massive amounts of stress, confusion and irritation, according to Dr. Hamel.
Here is a list of the most important facts to know and consider when involved in a motor vehicle accident:
#1 – Will insurance cover my treatment, emergency room visit, X-rays and more?
At Dr. Hamel’s office he accepts insurance to cover the treatment you need. Sometimes it takes coverage from multiple different carriers depending on the limits of the policies. On you auto insurance policy you have an option to get medical coverage in case you are in a car accident. One has to let their insurance representative know that they want this extra coverage, known as PIP (personal injury protection), Medical and Uninsured Motorist.
Talk to your auto insurance agent and they will tell you that it does not cost very much to get good medical coverage. One can get $10,000 PIP or Medical coverage for around $100 per year, although this amount might vary a little either way depending on driving history. The uninsured motorist coverage is usually $25,000. Getting PIP or Medical and additionally Uninsured Motorist on an auto policy will usually take care of most car accident treatments, unless the patient ends up in the hospital with broken bones, nerve damage, internal injuries or more serious issues.
With PIP and Medical coverage, they do have different limits of coverage which are $2,500, $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000, and the premium for a year’s worth of coverage is very affordable for most. When a patient does not have this coverage on their auto policy, they have to rely on the other party’s vehicle insurance, and it’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies are determined to pay out the least amount for each case, and this is part of the stress-inducing experience of car accident case. For this reason, Dr. Hamel and his office, Pinnacle Health and Wellness, only accept car accident patients who have their own PIP, Medical or Uninsured Motorist insurance.
#2 After a car accident should I hire an attorney?
This is a very common questions asked by new patients in Dr. Hamel’s office. The only time he recommends hiring an attorney is when a patient is severely injured, which could include fractures, concussion, internal injuries, the need for surgery or long-term disability. The problem here is that everyone in Houston sees the Texas Hammer lawyer commercials on TV and it seems that every client gets $150,000 or more for their settlement. This is only true, says Dr. Hamel, when the car accident victim has very serious injuries, including injuries that they may have to deal with for the rest of their lives. Most of our motor vehicle accident clients who come in from the Kingwood area have pretty severe damage to their vehicles and also neck pain, back pain, headaches, shoulder pain and Sciatica, which can take anywhere from 1-3 months to clear up. With these cases the insurance companies are not going to pay out $150,000. They may pay out $10,000, or a little less, depending on the damage to the car and the damage to the person driving. “I see it all the time,” says Dr. Hamel, “the patient is getting stressed out because the insurance company does not want to pay, or their communication is terrible, so they think they need an attorney. Keep in mind with an attorney, they will get anywhere from 33-40% of the settlement. Also, when the patient hires an attorney, they can no longer communicate with their insurance agent or the insurance adjuster, and many folks do not understand that.” Additionally, when dealing with an attorney and insurance company, the case can take anywhere from six months to two years to settle, which is also very stressful on the patients. In summary, yes, it is good to hire a personal injury attorney, but only if the patient has very serious injuries from the accident. To alleviate all the stress and to be able to just focus on the patient and getting the patient better quickly, Dr. Hamel does not accept any motor vehicle cases from third-party insurance companies or cases with an attorney involved. “When patients use their own PIP, Medical or Uninsured Motorist insurance it makes the treatment process simple and stress-free. We don’t have to worry about the back-and-forth games that insurance companies and attorneys play. We just give the patient the treatment they need, the insurance covers it, and we release the patient. It’s super simple, and that’s how we like it,” says Dr. Hamel.
#3 Does regular medical insurance cover my treatment?
This is another great question, and it would come up only if the person at fault, (usually thought to be the other person), did not have any insurance or the person not at fault, (the patient), did not have PIP, Medical or Uninsured Motorist on their auto policy. In this case chiropractic treatment may be covered by regular medical insurance. Often times they will pay for spinal treatment, massage, and corrective exercises, which is what the car accident patient typically needs. At his chiropractic office, Dr. Hamel is in network for Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and United Healthcare. Depending on the particular plan and benefits, the chiropractic visits may only require a copay. Some medical insurance companies can be fairly regulatory or not offer much in terms of chiropractic benefits, and Dr. Hamel’s front desk person will be happy to check and verify benefits and let each patient know what is covered.
#4 How long does it take to feel better or get healed from a car accident and what’s involved in the treatment?
Dr. Hamel strives to get his patients out of pain and healed up as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of the injuries from the motor vehicle accident, typically patients are better and released after 1-3 months of treatment. The patient is released when they are as close to pre-accident status as the patient deserves to feel as healthy as they did before the accident. The chiropractic treatment consists of spinal realignment, muscle releasing and corrective exercises; the patient needs to get their spine and muscles stabilized in order to get rid of back and neck pain and feel good once again.
#5 What are the best auto and medical insurance companies that help take care of their client’s needs?
Dr. Hamel reached out to a close friend and insurance agent to ask her which were the best auto policy insurance companies out there. In this case, best insurance companies mean those with good customer service, easy to get in touch with, affordable, and quickly paying claims, (meaning auto damage and medical treatment). The top recommended insurance companies in no particular order are Progressive, Travelers, Safeco and Mercury. The worst rated based on this insurance agent’s experience and patient feedback were Allstate and Fred Loya, meaning poor customer service and giving the patient a whole lot of extra stress. As mentioned previously, when it comes to Dr. Hamel’s office and accepting insurance, the medical insurance companies that cover chiropractic coverage the best are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna and United Healthcare.
It is very important that a person or family involved in a car accident know the ins and out of the process; even when being prepared for a car accident conundrum, it can be a very stressful process. The car accident clients that Dr. Hamel accepts are very unique. He does not accept every case, and here are the common descriptors:
- Car damaged significantly or totaled
- Patient dealing with headaches, back pain, neck pain, Sciatica and shoulder pain that was not there before the accident
- Patient has PIP, Medical, Uninsured Motorist on their auto policy or Medical Insurance (BCBS, Aetna or UHC)
- Patient is treated and is released as soon as they are out of pain and back to pre-accident status, usually 1-3 months of treatment
- No attorney is involved
- No third-party insurance company involved
- Dr. Hamel does not accept patients who appear in any way to be taking advantage of their insurance company and benefits
Dr. Tyler Hamel has been treating patients for 20+ years using a combination of chiropractic therapy, nutrition and corrective exercises. He has successfully treated thousands of car accident victims in the Kingwood, Texas area. His goal is to get every patient out of pain and functioning to the best of their ability quickly so they can get back to a pain free life once again. This top-rated Kingwood chiropractor is dedicated to alleviating back and neck pain and getting people healthier without the use of unnecessary medicine or surgeries.