If you are involved in a serious car accident, first responders are likely to perform some basic tests to assess your overall health and to rule out any more severe injuries.
Assuming you are cleared after this assessment, it can be tempting to get on with your life rather than seeking further medical care. In some cases, though, problems only manifest hours or even days after an accident. Properly documenting your injuries throughout will help streamline a subsequent personal injury claim.
If your injuries are severe and you have an MRI, this is liable to result in a higher settlement value, although this is not always the case.
What Is an MRI?
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is used for diagnostics that harnesses pulses of radio wave energy and a magnetic field to generate images of structures inside your body – organs, for instance.
When doctors consult MRIs, they gain a better understanding of what’s happening with the soft tissues often injured in car accidents. Tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and spinal discs are all examples of soft tissues frequently harmed during car collisions.
MRIs can also indicate potential issues with the brain, heart, spinal cord, blood vessels, and other organs in the body.
If you need an MRI performed, you will normally lay on a table that moves inside a large tube. Depending on the body part being imaged, this tube may be open or closed. Expect to lie still for 20 minutes or so as these complex images are rendered.
An MRI can detect many common issues that might be otherwise challenging to identify. TBIs (traumatic brain injuries), whiplash, disc herniation, and general soft tissue damage can all show up in MRIs, better preparing your doctor to create an appropriate treatment plan and monitoring regime.
How Could an MRI Help My Case?
MRIs can flag issues that may not appear in other scans like X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds. An MRI is often performed alongside other scans like these, not in place of those scans.
If you need an MRI, the overall value of your settlement should automatically increase to reflect larger out-of-pocket medical bills. This does not necessarily mean your case will be worth more, though. Some insurers might deny liability or coverage, or your case could be dismissed for other reasons, the MRI made redundant.
In most cases, an MRI will increase the overall settlement value. In addition to increased medical bills, any injuries identified by the scan could also contribute to your case, proving injuries sustained.
When Could It Help My Case?
In most cases, then, an MRI will increase the value of a personal injury settlement. There are several cases when MRIs are especially beneficial.
Clearly indicates damage
When an MRI indicates demonstrable soft tissue damage to ligaments, tendons, or muscles, this typically contributes to a damages case.
The same applies to herniated discs in younger victims.
The more clear-cut the injuries, the more likely all doctors involved in the case will agree on the findings.
Shows a brain injury
Brain injuries seen on MRI scans are likely to adversely impact your life in many ways. As such, proof of a brain injury on an MRI will boost your overall settlement value.
Low property damage
If you were involved in a car accident with low property damage to the vehicles, it is unlikely an MRI will help your case as much as when vehicle damage is greater.
Getting an MRI Does not Automatically Translate to Higher Case Values
Not all cases involving MRIs will be worth more. Settlement values take many factors into account, and any of the following can kill the value of your case:
- The insurance company denying liability
- A denial of coverage by the liability insurer
- No liability insurance in place
- A case being dismissed in court
There are many other factors that can adversely impact the value of your claim, potentially even reducing it to nothing, even if an MRI is involved.
MRI Typically Increases Settlement Value
In most cases, an MRI will increase the overall value of your case by increasing your out-of-pocket medical bills or the liens involved if you do not pay out of pocket.
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