MVA, or motor vehicle accident is a term we hear frequently when a patient calls the office to book an appointment. Often the patient will tell us that they were sitting in their car, stopped at a red light, and a car hit into them from the rear. Sometimes the impact is from the side, or the front, and many times there are two impacts from two different cars. The pain usually begins right away, but might not start until several days, or even weeks, after the accident. The pain may be anywhere in the body. Often the legs or arms are involved because the patient braced themselves during the impact by slamming their foot on the brake or tightening their arms as they held onto the steering wheel. The neck and back are the most frequently injured, and these injuries are frequently called “whiplash”. Whiplash is a term that is now known as WAD. WAD stands for whiplash associated disorder. The change came about because the medical literature now is full of evidence that a sore, stiff neck isn’t the only result from a car collision. Whiplash associated disorder also includes dizziness, cognitive disturbances such as forgetfulness, anger, confusion and depression. It also may include tingling and numbness in the extremities, weakness, headaches, as well as the usual and more common signs and symptoms of neck pain and stiffness and back pain and disability. When someone is involved in a car accident their first action should be to attend to their immediate medical concerns. That may or may not require a visit to the hospital, maybe even by ambulance. Once the initial hospital visit has concluded if it is needed, the patient then usually phones their automobile insurance company to report the accident. They then want their car fixed, if that is possible. Then they realize that the also need their body fixed. They understand they have pain and they require treatment of some sort. Many will ask their family doctor where to go for therapy. Some doctors know and some doctors don’t know where the best facility is in the area to have their MVA related injures treated properly. Some people will ask their insurance company for advice regarding treatment. In Ontario you will be assigned an insurance adjuster for your car and another adjuster for your physical injuries. The adjuster for the car will tell you to get an estimate for the repair of your car. You are allowed to take your car to any facility you choose, even though the insurance company might recommend one or two in your area. Similarly, the adjuster for your personal injuries might recommend one or two facilities where you can have your injuries treated. The law in Ontario sates that you may attend anywhere you want for treatment and even though sometimes the insurance adjuster will pressure you to attend the clinic they recommend, you should go to where you find it convenient and where you feel comfortable. If you already attend a chiropractor for other issues and you feel comfortable at that clinic you should continue going there and let that chiropractor treat your new MVA related injuries. You should not start with a new clinic just because the insurance company suggests it. Remember, they aren’t necessarily recommending it for your own good, but maybe rather for their good! The caution is that not all facilities will accept your insurance directly. The insurance company will pay for your rehabilitation and therapy according to the insurance guidelines (the fees are standard no matter which facility you go to), however, some facilities will make you pay the bill after each treatment. You pay the bill and submit it to your insurance company and you will be reimbursed by them. Other facilities will just bill the insurance company directly and no money ever has to come out of your pocket for your therapy. There is one other billing thing to consider. The law in Ontario also states that if you have private insurance coverage, such as a plan through your place of employment, that insurance company must be billed first. That is the law, and yes, it isn’t fair, but it’s the law. When you complete the insurance forms you will be asked if you have coverage through work and you must answer honestly. If you try to hide that other insurance coverage they will find out and you will be committing insurance fraud. So you find a clinic in your neighborhood that has experience in treating MVA related injuries, you book an appointment and start your therapy. The bills are first sent to your work insurance. When you receive payment from that company you then pay the clinic you are attending with that money. When the coverage you have from your work insurance runs out that is when your car insurance kicks in. From that moment on, the clinic you are attending will send all bills directly to your car insurance company. You never have to pay for anything as long as all guidelines are followed. If you have been involved in a car accident you should seek out a respected clinic that offers multiple forms of therapy (in case one treatment type doesn’t work for you, perhaps a different therapy or a different type of doctor will help). You should also ask if that clinic is registered with HCAI. HCAI stands for “health claims for auto insurance”. If the clinic is registered with HCAI it means they will do your insurance billing directly without you having to pay the bill first and then waiting to be reimbursed from your insurance company. If the clinic isn’t HCAI registered you will have to pay the bill and then submit the bill to your insurance company and wait to be reimbursed. In summary, if you have MVA related injuries you should seek out a clinic that has multiple forms of therapy and different types of doctors, a clinic that has a good reputation and has been established for a long time in the community, and finally a clinic that is HCAI registered.