At the scene of a car accident, first responders will likely do some basic tests to assess your health and rule out any severe car accident injuries. If you are cleared during this, it can be tempting to move on without seeking further medical care. But problems can often become apparent hours or days later, and you will want documentation of any pain or injuries. Visiting an Atlanta MRI imaging center can both ensure you treat any injuries properly, as well as provide important legal documentation in case you pursue a lawsuit.
What Is an MRI?
An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, is a diagnostic scan that utilizes a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to produce images of structures, like organs, inside of your body. By looking at these images, doctors are able to understand what is happening with your soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and spinal discs, which are often injured in a car accident. MRIs may also indicate issues with the heart, brain, blood vessels, spinal cord, and other organs.
When you have an MRI done, you are typically laid on a table that is moved inside of a large tube. This tube may be open or closed, depending on what part of the body is being imaged. You may be asked to lie still for up to 20 minutes as the complex images are built.
MRIs are able to detect a number of common issues, some of which it would be difficult to identify otherwise. Traumatic brain injuries, disc herniation, whiplash, and general soft tissue damage may all be shown in an MRI, allowing your doctor to make a treatment plan and identify its progress over time.
How Can an MRI Help My Case?
An MRI can detect problems that may not be apparent in other scans such as a CT scan, x-ray, or an ultrasound, meaning it is done in addition to these things. The increase in your out of pocket medical bills will increase the full value of your case on its own. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your case will be worth more. Insurers may deny coverage or liability, or your case may be dismissed without regard for the MRI.
However, in most cases, an MRI does increase the value of your settlement. Because of the increased cost, the MRI typically increases settlement on its own. Any injuries documented with the scan may also contribute to your case as proof of injury during your accident.
When Can It Help My Case?
While an MRI is generally likely to increase your settlement, there are a few instances where an MRI will be particularly useful.
If the scan shows clear damage to a muscle, tendon, or ligament, this can contribute to a damages case. A herniated disc in a young person is also likely to do so. The more apparent the damage is, the more likely it is that the doctors involved in the case will agree with the findings. The same is true of a brain injury that can be seen on an MRI, as it is likely to affect your life and is therefore an increase to settlement value.
In order to be helpful to your case, MRIs should be performed within the first weeks after your crash as you begin to experience symptoms. When injuries appear but are of an indeterminate age or the tear is not acute, it is more difficult to use the MRI to increase your settlement. You do not need to wait for your insurer to authorize your MRI, as it’s more important to seek timely care and begin addressing any injuries.
In many cases, an MRI reveals an injury that the accident victim was completely unaware of and did not register symptoms before undergoing the scan. In addition to benefiting your case, an MRI can help rule out any severe injuries, and where they are present, guide treatment and recovery plans.
Trust AICA Orthopedics with Your MRI
At AICA Orthopedics, we specialize in diagnosing and treating those who have been involved in car accidents. Our team of radiologists is highly skilled in performing and reading MRIs, and clearly communicating our findings to you so you can understand the appropriate next steps. We also often offer second opinions on MRIs to make sure the initial review was done to our high standards and provide an expert opinion. In addition to our skilled radiologists, we offer doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists to help overcome any injuries sustained.