How Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, and Therapists Can Assist Injured Clients More Effectively
After someone is injured, they typically visit the local hospital and their family doctor. From there, they may be referred for physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, or other forms of therapy. The therapists first assess the client and then begin to treat the client. Especially in the context of a motor vehicle accident, where the injured client is receiving accident benefits from his or her insurance company, what the therapist writes in his or her notes is very important. A few words can cause all the difference for the client to access only $3,500 in treatment as opposed to having access to $65,000 in treatment.
As a personal injury lawyer, I am impressed when I find therapists who understand what are the factors that help to extract a client from the $3,500 category called the MIG (Minor Injury Guideline) to the Non-Catastrophic category. Fundamentally, a client who is able to access adequate treatment is much more likely to recover fully from his or her injuries and receive the appropriate medical and rehabilitative treatment. After all, injured clients paid premiums to their insurance company for the benefit of treatment if they are injured, and the insurance company is contractually mandated to give these benefits to the client.
Therapists who understand the factors that may help to remove a client from the MIG also enhance their own clinic, as the client has more access to funds and may likely obtain treatment from that therapist’s clinic. Therefore, it is a win for not only the client but also the therapist. The following are factors or tips that all therapists should consider when dealing with an injured client as a result of a motor vehicle accident:
1. In your initial assessment and treatment, find out about the client’s pre-existing injuries and conditions.
If the client had a diagnosed pain or condition in the days and weeks leading up to the accident, has that pain increased or worsened as a result of the accident? Under the legislation governing Accident Benefits, one of the many ways to be taken out of the MIG, a client must (1) have had a pre-existing condition that was documented by a medical practitioner before the accident; and (2) this same pre-existing condition prevents him or her from achieving maximal recovery from his or her accident-caused injuries within the minor injury limits of the MIG. As you can see, it is not enough to have a diagnosed pre-existing condition before the accident. Rather, that diagnosed pre-existing condition must impact your recovery from the injuries you received in the accident. Some indications can also be whether the client’s pre-existing medication has increased or their need for therapy has increased too.
2. In your initial assessment and treatment, find out about the client’s psychological and emotional injuries and conditions.
If clients have documented psychological and emotional injuries, they may not fall within the MIG. Often clients are shaken up after a traumatic accident or even a small accident, and they are afraid to drive again or be a passenger. Moreover, they are not aware that there are therapists who can help them overcome this anxiety or phobia of driving or being a passenger. Unfortunately, they may be afraid to voice these mental health concerns to strangers. Through your conversations with the clients, you may be able to let them know that emotional and psychological injuries are very common after an accident, and they should consult their family doctor for the appropriate treatment.
3. In your initial assessment and treatment, find out about the client’s cognitive injuries and conditions.
Are they suffering from any symptoms of a concussion, which include headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea, etc? You may want to also note if they hit their head or any part of their body inside the vehicle. If clients have a diagnosed concussion, that may also allow them to escape the MIG and access more treatment. If clients are exhibiting any symptoms of a concussion, you should let them know to discuss these symptoms with their family doctor.
What few therapists do – though it is highly welcomed – after your initial assessment or treatment, it would be a good idea to give a short call to the client’s lawyer letting them know about the client that you just saw. If there are any factors you observed, such as the ones above, it would be a good idea to discuss these with the lawyer, so that appropriate treatment plans can be submitted. When therapists take a proactive step in identifying factors that may remove a client from the MIG, it greatly benefits the client and helps the client to access adequate treatment.