How do I get my physical therapy covered after my accident?

Insurance companies and personal injury defense attorneys may take a skeptical view towards physical therapy, since it can be costly and a typical course of treatment can last a while.

Question:

How do I get my physical therapy covered after my accident?

Answer:

As with any other facet of medical care after a car accident, in order to make physical therapy treatment a compensable part of your injury claim, you need to document the necessity of the treatment, tie it to the underlying car accident, and make sure you keep ongoing records of sessions, and billing for those sessions.

Insurance companies and personal injury defense attorneys may take a skeptical view towards physical therapy, since it can be costly and a typical course of treatment can last a while.

What’s more, physical therapy is often necessary to treat injuries that aren’t so easy to prove definitively; soft tissue injuries like strains and sprains don’t usually show up on an x-ray, MRI, or other diagnostic test. So it’s important to be thorough in documenting the need for physical therapy.

First of all, you’ll probably need to get a written referral from your primary physician or another specialist, linking the need for physical therapy to the injuries you sustained in the car accident. Check with your health insurance provider to see if physical therapy is covered under your plan, otherwise you may need to pay for these sessions out of pocket, and seek reimbursement from the defendant later on.

Once you start physical therapy, make sure you attend all of your scheduled sessions. If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit over a car accident, as the plaintiff you have the legal obligation to “mitigate your damages” -- in other words, to take reasonable steps to get better and not worsen your injury or delay your recovery.

If you start to miss scheduled physical therapy appointments, or you don’t follow instructions on at-home exercises, the defendant is going to ask why he or she should be expected to continue paying for physical therapy, and the judge may find that the defendant has a fair point.

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