Car accident or motor vehicle accident (MVA) injuries are one of the most frustrating injuries because they come out of nowhere. One day you are fine and the next day you are looking for someone to treat your pain. Here are some of the things you should know if you’ve been injured in a car accident and are looking for a physiotherapist. I set up this page to guide you through the process, which can be confusing at first glance.
Where to start
Your car accident was:
Less than 10 days ago
If your accident was less than 10 days ago you can call us and make an appointment online for physiotherapy and we'll deal with your insurance company. Just download and complete the AB-1 from below.
More than 10 days ago
If your accident was more than 10 days ago, you'll have to call your car insurance company before you make your physical therapy appointment just to make sure your appointments will be covered.
If you were injured in a collision in Alberta, you can access benefits coverage regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident.
You can choose your own physiotherapist, you don't have to book with the one your insurance company recommends.
The benefits you receive depend on the type of injury you have
If your injury is a sprain, strain or a whiplash associated with disorder I or II , you can call a physiotherapist directly to make an appointment. You don’t need prior approval of the insurance company if you provide notice of your claim and choose to follow the protocols. You can do this by sending them an AB1: Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim form (more on the protocols and forms below). Our clinic is able to bill the car insurance company directly.
For all other injuries
Submit receipts for eligible expenses not covered by Alberta Healthcare Insurance to your extended healthcare benefits coverage provider (e.g. Blue Cross, health spending account or similar extended health care benefits plan) for reimbursement.
If the following applies you may submit invoices for eligible expenses to your automobile insurer for payment.
- You do not have extended health care benefits coverage.
- Your extended health care benefits coverage is exhausted.
- Your extended health care benefits coverage does not meet the full cost of eligible expenses.
Most common injuries in motor vehicle accidents
Whiplash is the most common injury associated with car accidents. Usually, when your car is struck from behind your head undergoes a severe acceleration and rapid deceleration which causes strains and sprains of the muscles and ligaments in your neck. Typically, whiplash is not a life threatening injury and the most common symptoms are:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Shoulder pain and stiffness
- Jaw pain
- Arm pain and weakness
- Visual disturbances
- Ringing in the ear and back pain
How can Physiotherapy help?
Previously, it was well thought that a soft cervical collar (immobilization) of the neck for several weeks would aide in recovery. However, recent studies have shown that physical therapy can provide much more reliable and rapid recovery (Schnabel et. al. 2004). Early exercise therapy is far better than the collar therapy in reducing pain intensity and disability. Early range of motion exercises administered by a physiotherapist can help you quickly wean off a cervical collar and develop strength and reduce pain in your neck.