Who Will Pay For My Mental & Physical Therapy Following My Car Accident?

calgary personal injury lawyers

Car accidents are a leading cause of both physical and psychological trauma. While the physical injuries are often readily apparent, the emotional and mental health consequences can take time to surface. Fortunately, various therapeutic interventions can significantly improve a patient’s recovery trajectory.

Studies demonstrate the significant impact car accidents have on mental health. A 2020 meta-analysis issued in the Journal of Affective Disorders found a high prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in car accident victims, ranging from 10.8% to 37.7%. 

Anxiety and depression rates exceed 30%. These mental health conditions impede a person’s ability to return to work, maintain relationships, and engage in daily activities.

Furthermore, the physical injuries sustained in a car accident can be debilitating and require extensive rehabilitation from Calgary personal injury lawyers

Mental and Physical Therapies for Recovery After a Car Accident

A 2018 study in Spine found that whiplash, a common car accident injury, leads to chronic pain and limitations in up to 50% of cases. Effective physical therapy interventions, including spinal manipulation, range of motion exercises, and pain management techniques, are crucial for restoring mobility and function.

Physical Therapy Interventions

The specific physical therapy techniques employed in personal injury law depend on the nature and severity of the trauma sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Here’s a breakdown of common serious personal injury and their corresponding therapeutic approaches:

  • Whiplash is a prevalent injury characterized by neck pain and stiffness and often arises from a combination of modalities. 
  • Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries involving ligaments or muscles, respectively. They respond well to RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) in the acute phase, followed by progressive strengthening exercises. A physical therapist creates a tailored exercise program to restore strength, stability, and proprioception (body awareness) in the affected area.
  • Head injuries sustained in car accidents range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries from motor vehicle accidents

Mental Therapies

Cognitive Behavioral TherapyThis widely used therapy helps patients select and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety, depression, and fear of personal injury litigation. 
CBT supplies individuals with coping skills to control their emotional responses and improve their mental well-being apart from a personal injury lawyer.
Eye Movement Desensitization and ReprocessingA highly effective therapy for treating PTSD. It involves bilateral stimulation (repeated eye movements or alternating taps) while the patient reprocesses traumatic memories in a protected environment from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Acceptance and Commitment TherapyACT helps patients take on difficult emotions and thoughts while committing to living a meaningful life according to their values. 
Beneficial for people struggling with intrusive thoughts or avoidance behaviours related to car accidents and personal injury claims from a wrongful death.

At-Fault Driver’s Insurance & Coverage for Therapy Costs After a Car Accident

The legal principle of tort law in a law firm dictates that the at-fault party in car accident claims is financially responsible for the damages experienced by the injured party under the medical malpractice law. 

This includes lost wages, legal fees, property damage, and pain & suffering from a hit-and-run accident. Most car insurance policies in North America include two key components in their legal process that are relevant to therapy cost coverage:

Bodily Injury (BI) Liability CoverageThis coverage pays for the healthcare of the injured party and legal representation (and their passengers) in an accident where the insured driver is deemed at fault by medical and other professionals. 
The specific limits of BI coverage vary depending on the policy, typically ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 per person and $50,000 to $300,000 per accident.
Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay)This is an optional coverage that pays for the healthcare of the driver and their passengers, regardless of fault. 
MedPay coverage amounts are lower than BI liability coverage, often ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.

Essential Documentation for At-Fault Driver Insurance Claims

A detailed police report documenting the accident scene, contributing factors, and witness statements. Records from treating physicians are paramount. These records should include:

  • A thorough initial diagnosis documenting the nature and severity of the injuries experienced in the accident.
  • Imaging reports like X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, if applicable, that provide objective evidence of injuries.
  • A documented treatment plan outlining the recommended course of therapy, including the type of therapy (physical therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, etc.), the anticipated duration of treatment, and the expected therapeutic goals.
  • Detailed progress notes from healthcare providers recording the patient’s response to treatment, any changes in symptoms, and the ongoing need for therapy.
  • Causality statements from treating physicians explicitly linking the injuries and their ongoing effects to the car accident are particularly valuable.

Post-Accident Therapy Costs and Common Treatments

A 2020 report by the American Psychological Association indicated that the national average cost of psychotherapy in the United States is $129 per session. Since April 1, 2019, British Columbia has placed significant restrictions on compensation for emotional suffering after car accidents. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia set new rules that categorize certain mental health problems caused by car crashes as “minor injuries.” Compensation for these minor injuries is capped at a maximum of $5,500.

Remember, there’s a two-year time limit to file a claim under the British Columbia Limitations Act. This means all claims for emotional distress arising from accidents after April 1, 2019, might be subject to the $5,500 cap if not filed by April 1, 2021.

Common Physical Therapy Interventions and Cost Considerations

Evaluation and Initial AssessmentRanges from $150 to $250 per session.
Manual Therapy TechniquesHands-on techniques, like joint mobilization and soft tissue massage, cost $100 to $150 per session.
Therapeutic ExercisesSupervised exercise programs designed to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion typically fall within the $75 to $125 per session range.
ModalitiesModalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation incur additional charges, ranging from $25 to $50 per session, on top of the base treatment fee.

Government Programs and Assistance for Therapy Expenses

Publicly Funded Therapy Services

Here’s a glimpse into some provincial variations:

British ColumbiaThe BC Ministry of Health offers coverage for a limited number of psychotherapy sessions through the Medical Services Plan (MSP).
OntarioThe Ontario Health Insurance Plan covers psychotherapy sessions with a psychiatrist (a medical doctor who specializes in mental health).
QuebecThe Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) provides coverage for psychotherapy under specific criteria, often requiring a referral from a physician.

Amelia’s Story: A Case Study in Physical and Psychological Trauma

Amelia’s experience exemplifies the often-overlooked psychological consequences of road traffic accidents. Her inability to perform work duties as a nurse, coupled with the restrictions on gym activities, triggered a cascade of negative emotions. 

Depression, anxiety, and a loss of confidence became prominent features, further hindering her recovery process. This highlights the link between physical trauma and mental wellbeing – a point underscored by the “Make It Right” campaign’s finding that 75% of accident victims experience mental health issues.

Research suggests that 66% of individuals report feeling nervous near accident sites. In other cases, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) manifests as characterized by symptoms like irritability, insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares.

Amelia’s story also offers a glimmer of hope. As her physical symptoms improved through physiotherapy and chiropractic care, a sense of normalcy gradually returned.

calgary personal injury lawyers

Don’t Let Accident Costs Burden Your Recovery

Car accident injuries leave a lasting impact, both physically and mentally. The cost of therapy shouldn’t impede your healing journey. Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary can help navigate the complexities of insurance coverage and explore all available options to ensure you receive the therapy you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and get the support you need to focus on recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a time limit for filing a claim for therapy costs?

Yes, each province in Canada has a statute of limitations that dictates the schedule for filing a personal injury claim following an accident. Missing this timeframe could jeopardize your ability to recover therapy costs from the at-fault driver’s insurance.

My accident involved a hit-and-run driver. Will I still be able to access therapy coverage?

Even without identifying the at-fault driver, you still have options for covering therapy costs.

  • If one has uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your own car insurance policy, it can provide financial compensation for any expenses, including therapy. 
  • Ontario residents with private car insurance can access accident benefits through the Accident Benefits Service (ABS), regardless of fault. 

I’m a student-athlete, and my physical therapy needs are crucial for returning to my sport. Will this impact therapy coverage?

Yes, demonstrating a clear link between therapy and your ability to resume your athletic activities can strengthen your claim for coverage. Here’s how to approach this:

  • Seek evaluation from a sports medicine specialist who understands the specific demands of your sport.
  • The therapist’s plan should outline the anticipated benefits of therapy in helping you regain the necessary strength, flexibility, and skills to return to your sport safely.
  • Provide documentation of your athletic involvement, such as past competition records or team affiliation letters.
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