1. What are the most common injuries after an MVA?
A whiplash injury is the most common injury experienced after a car accident. It is a bit confusing because it describes the mechanism of injury and the symptoms. In a rear-impact car collision (“rear-ended”), the head and neck are thrown backwards from the force of the impact and rebound forwards. Whiplash can occur outside of a car accident – other possibilities include contact sports or big falls. Whiplash describes any injury to soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) resulting from a rapid and forceful neck movement. Whiplash typically does not involve bone fractures which is why it is called a soft tissue injury. The most common symptoms experienced are pain and stiffness in the soft tissues around the neck and upper back.
2. What kind of rehabilitation is available after an accident?
In 2004 the Alberta government introduced guidelines to standardize care for people injured in an MVA. Regardless of who is at fault, you are eligible for rehabilitation through a physical therapist, chiropractor or massage therapist. After your initial injury assessment by your healthcare provider, they will tell you how many treatments you are eligible for; most people will receive 10 to 21 treatments depending on the severity of their injury. The cost of these treatments will be billed directly to the insurance company.
You can also choose to access treatment outside of these protocols. For example, in Alberta, insurance companies are legally required to provide medically necessary treatment for injuries related to a car accident. This treatment falls under the Section B component of your insurance plan. However, depending on your particular scenario, you may need to use any existing extended healthcare insurance coverage.