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Should I have an MRI Scan After a Car Accident?
Knowing exactly what injuries you are suffering from after a car accident can take some time. Not all injuries are going to be noticeable right away. Depending on the type of accident you are in and the medical professionals you see after your car accident, it will depend on whether or not you will need an MRI scan. For injuries that are cosmetic (cuts, scrapes, bruises, etc.), the likelihood of you needing an MRI will be very low. On the other hand, if you hit your head or have been suffering from neck and/or head pain, going in for an MRI will give you a diagnosis for your injuries and it will also help your doctors prescribe you with the most effective form of treatment.
X-Ray v. MRI’s
Believe it or not, there are different benefits of having an MRI done over just having an x-ray taken. MRI’s are powerful magnets and radio frequencies that create 3-D images that can clearly see bones, cartilage, blood vessels, muscle tendons, ligaments, etc. Things that an x-ray will not be able to show; x-rays only take flat images and are useful when detecting broken bones but not ideal when diagnosing herniated discs and/or soft tissue damage.
Unlike x-rays, MRI’s do not release any form of radiation and most medical professionals prefer MRI’s for people who are pregnant or have any other underlying medical issues to note.
Is the Cost of an MRI Worth it?
One of the biggest disadvantages of an MRI is that it can be quite costly. MRI costs can start at $2000 and go up from there. Though healthcare may cover some costs, you may have to pay a little out of pocket expenses, however you may recover the costs of the MRI from your settlement. Though the cost of an MRI can be high, the benefits of MRI’s greatly outweigh any negatives. For instance, an MRI can determine if surgery is needed or not.
What Happens During an MRI?
The last time I had an MRI I was four years old and I had just fallen off the top bunk bed and hit my head. The doctors had to sedate me because I had a very serious concussion and refused to lay still. So, needless to say, I don’t remember what exactly happens. During an MRI, you lay down and the machine gently guides you into what looks like a giant tube. Depending on whether or not you have an open or closed MRI will greatly depend on how long you will be laying still for. An MRI can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes, perhaps longer. An open MRI will be more useful for people who are claustrophobic or who are overweight.
There will be a loud noise that sounds like pounding that will go on for the duration of the testing. Even with an open MRI, the pounding noise is loud and the results may not be as conclusive as a closed MRI. Again, whichever you chose that will be best for you and what makes you the m most comfortable during these tests will be of the utmost importance.
What Can be Found in an MRI?
As accident lawyers, we cannot tell you what can and cannot be found or what your diagnosis will be based upon your MRI, the doctors will be able to determine if you have any of the following:
- Disc Bulging – This is when the jelly-like material that makes up the interior of the disc swells and moves outward but also remaining intact;
- Protruding Disc – A bulge that is larger than normal; unless it is resting on the nerve root or another part of the spinal column;
- Extruding Disc – Disc material moves into the spinal cord/column, pinching or compression the root of the nerve causing pain and likely needing surgery in order to repair;
- Disc Herniation – This is when the outside fibrous ring/disc is ruptured by a bulge. Disc material can break off, which usually means that there is a need for immediate surgery;
- Degeneration – This is less likely caused by any kind of car accident and is usually disc damage due to the natural aging process of the body. However, it can be difficult to diagnose after an accident due to the type of injury you sustain in your accident, the length of time after your accident that the MRI was taken, your age and physical condition prior to injuries from the accident.
- Doctors usually assume that people of a certain age (40 and up) have some sort of degeneration in their discs and the accident is not the cause, nor is it responsible or speed up the degeneration in any way.
MRI’s Help Prove Causation
There is great benefit of having an MRI after your car accident because it can prove what caused your injuries; thus, making it easier to obtain a decent settlement amount. For example, MRI’s can determine if the pain or numbness from a herniated cervical (neck) disc that has radiated down to your shoulder, shoulder-blade, arm, heard, lower back, etc. is due to the injuries you sustained in your accident. An MRI can also explain WHY you are experiencing these radiating pains into other parts of your body.
These scans can prove that you are suffering from injuries due to your car accident and will send a clear message to the insurance companies that you are not faking it. They do this by showing extensive damage to vertebrae, spinal discs, ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the neck and back. An MRI can even go so far as to confirm critical information about your accident such as angle of the impact and how that contributed to your injuries.
With that being said, an MRI can uncover any hidden bodily trauma in the following areas:
- Spinal cord;
- Brain and head;
- Internal bleeding/other internal injuries;
- Back and neck;
- Soft tissue damage/muscle damage;
- Craniofacial damage (damage to the skull bones that enclose the brain but do not include the face or jaw bones)
Injured in an Accident? Contact Silverthorne Attorneys Today!
When you are suffering from injuries due to a car accident you need a team of people who will work side by side with you throughout the entire process. The team at Silverthorne Attorneys is here to do just that. Contact us to discuss the details of your case. Since beginning our practice in 2012 our team has been able to recover multiple seven-figure settlements for those who have been hurt due to someone else’s negligence. When you are surfing, you need car accident attorneys who will put your needs ahead of the insurance company. Contact Silverthorne Attorneys at (949) 234-6034 today. Consultations with our attorneys are free!