Auto Insurance Claims/Injury Help

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Question
Hi, I was recently in a rear end collision. Although the damage to the vehicle was minor, I did sustain minor injury to my neck and back. I had x-rays done by a radiologist who has nothing to gain from his assessment, and his report states: cervical spine strain/spasm, straightening of the normal cervical lordosis, and mild scoliosis. Now I don't believe the scoliosis has anything to do with the accident, it is just on the report so I included it. However, my understanding is that the other information is medical documentation of a typical injury sustained in a rear end collision. Now, the damage to my vehicle is only roughly $700 according to the cursory estimate. The insurance company  sounds like they are threatening to not cover my medical expenses, as they claim that I should not be injured from such a minor accident. However, the same lady also told me that everybody is different in how they are injured and how long recovery takes. I do not feel that I will need chiropractic treatment for more than the average amount of time for the type of injury I sustained, however I am worried that they will refuse to pay what I rightfully deserve. I was wondering if there is any helpful information I can get on how to go about this. I do not have the money to cover my medical treatment if they deny it. The state which I reside is California, if that makes any difference. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!!

Answer
When a claim rep evaluates an injury claim, they attempt to estimate the value a judge or jury would likely assign the claim, if there were to be a lawsuit and trial.

In most jurisdictions, people are skeptical about the extent of soft tissue injuries on minor impact collisions.  This does not mean there could not have been a mild injury, but a lot of people do exaggerate these claims.  

Here is what the medical literature says on this topic:  A soft tissue injury (commonly known as whiplash) is essentially a muscle strain in the neck or back area.  Muscles strains typically heal on their own, with no medical treatment, in anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks.  Chiropractic treatment or physical therapy is not needed, but it can provide some relief if the patient is in a lot of pain.  So can Advil, but it is much less expensive.

The scoliosis is not related to the accident.  The lordotic straightening could be a sign of muscle strain, or it could be related to poor posture or many other things. It is not definitive proof of anything.  

You should seek whatever medical care you believe to be necessary.  However, you should also understand that people will be skeptical if you seek a large amount of care and claim this accident caused it.  If you and the insurer cannot agree on a fair settlement value for your claim, your option would be to file a lawsuit and then let the judge or jury decide the fair value.

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I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer......I can answer questions related to any aspect of Automobile insurance claims and coverages. I can provide an inside look at how insurers operate. I always treat my customers fairly and want to help make sure you are treated fairly. However, please keep in mind that being treated fairly according to the law does not guarantee that you will get what you want. I can also answer some questions regarding Homeowner's and other types of insurance claims. I have handled all types of auto insurance claims and coverages. I am NOT an automotive repair expert but can give advice re how insurers handle complex repair issues. Please keep in mind that every state has its own set of laws pertaining to rules of the road, liability, and insurance. No one is an expert on every state. I am most familiar with laws in Maryland, DC, West Virginia, and Virginia, but will attempt to answer questions for other states. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Experience

I am currently an Auto Claims Manager for a large insurance company. I have 20 years experience in the industry, having worked as a Claims Adjuster, Injury Settlement Negotiator, Claims Manager, SIU/Fraud Investigator, and Compliance Officer. I am not an attorney an cannot provide legal advice. My advice will be my opinion based on my experience.

Organizations
CPCU Society. Adjusters license in multiple states. International Association of Specal Investigators

Education/Credentials
I have a B.S. in Finance and have completed the AIC and CPCU designations.

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