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Should I Submit to an MRI if Injured in a Car Accident?

Monday, May 1, 2017

When a car accident happens in Hollywood or Ft Lauderdale, the parties involved should immediately take steps to determine the extent of physical injury. When seeking medical evaluation, a physician may recommend diagnostic tests, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs). MRIs are used to diagnose orthopedic, cardiac and neurological conditions. This type of imaging is particularly useful in auto wreck cases in Broward County, as it could detect medical issues that cannot be seen on an X-ray. Advantages of accident victims obtaining an MRI scan include greater likelihood of detecting injuries, the pain-free nature of MRI diagnostics and the fact that Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will typically cover the cost up to at least $10,000. Major disadvantages to choosing an MRI include cost and the need to quickly decide whether or not an MRI would be advantageous.

What Takes Place During an MRI Scan?

During an MRI, the patient must lie on a small, flat, narrow surface that also houses a large magnet. The surface is then moved through an MRI machine. Open MRIs are available for individuals who are claustrophobic and are uncomfortable being moved through an enclosed machine. The imaging machine utilizes the body's magnetic fields and low frequency radio waves to depict soft tissues. Patience should not experience any discomfort while undergoing these tests.

Who May Request It?

A medical professional may determine that an MRI is necessary to thoroughly evaluate the extent of injury. However, in some instances, patients may wish to request an MRI in the absence of a doctor recommendation. MRIs are typically not advantageous in cases in which neurological injury or a tear in the soft tissue is not likely to be present.

When to Request It

In general, it is within an auto accident victim's best interest to have an MRI as quickly as possible. Florida law requires parties who are involved in motor vehicle collisions to receive initial medical treatment within 14 days of the collision. Therefore, crash victims who are considering an MRI should not wait for their insurance company to authorize the service. Some insurers may take several days to simply inform the insured that they will only pay for the MRI after the insured has actually received the service. Whether the MRI is requested by a doctor or independently, patients should always request copies of the MRI report and a disc from the facility. Hollywood / Fort Lauderdale accident victims should send a copy of the report and the disc to their insurance company even if the company has not requested copies. Doing so could help your car accident attorney in a future case.

Who Pays for It?

In Broward County, most victims involved in car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents have a minimum of a $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage through their auto insurance policy. Because the cost of an MRI may range from $500 to more than $5,000, some medical providers may avoid recommending MRIs in the interest of utilizing more of the PIP benefits for other medical services, like chiropractics. Individuals who are injured in an auto wreck for which a business may be liable should be aware that the business may not pay up front for an MRI. Even large corporations and other businesses that have insurance policies that include Medpay coverage commonly refuse to pay for car crash victims' medical expenses up front as they are not legally required to do so. Those who do not have PIP coverage may find a facility in Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale that will provide MRI services with the help of a law firm like Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman.

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