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Physical Therapy for Car Accidents

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Physical therapy after a car accident

After an accident you may experience physical and emotional pain, along with confusion on how to navigate insurance and legal claims. Whether the accident was your fault or caused by someone else’s negligence, we can help you through the process of recovery. It’s important to get treatment soon after an car crash, so that you can recover sooner, as well as provide evidence for any legal claims.

Physical therapy can play a crucial role in your recovery process. After a car crash physical therapy can help you regain strength, mobility, and overall functionality.

Woman hurt in car accident

How does physical therapy help me heal from a car accident?

Left to heal on its own, the body generally heals improperly, leaving weakened and tightened areas. Physical therapy helps prevent this by addressing the root cause of your pain, and providing targeted treatment to ensure proper healing.

Physical therapy starts with thorough and comprehensive evaluations to identify the areas that have been impacted the most by an injury. This helps create a clear diagnosis, and a direction for a personalized plan of care. The physical therapist will create a plan that addresses your individual situation, taking into account the acute or chronic nature of the healing process.

Physical therapy aims to address painful areas, reducing inflammation, tissue tension, and mechanical weakness in muscles, core, or joints. This is achieved through hands-on care for muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons, along with gradual mobility and strength training, promoting the body’s healing post-trauma.

Under the guidance and care of a physical therapist, you can heal correctly, gaining flexibility and strength needed to effectively return to the demands of life without pain.

Common symptoms of car accidents


Knee Pain


Stiff Muscles

Back Pain

Muscle Strains


Does insurance cover physical therapy costs after a car accident?

Car insurance will cover physical therapy immediately after an accident. If it was a car accident then car insurance coverage applies whether you are at fault or not. Most health insurance plans will not cover medical costs initially if the cause of the injury is from an accident. In Utah, each insurance company pays costs for the person they insure, and then afterwards they try to determine who is at fault.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for car accidents

If you were injured in a car accident, auto insurance will pay for medical treatment of injuries, lost work income, as well as some other related expenses. This type of insurance is called PIP (personal injury protection), and is required for all car owners, and covers you regardless of whether you are at fault of the accident or not.

Personal Injury Protection

The amount that PIP insurance is required to pay varies from state to state, but in Utah the minimum amount is $3000 for medical expenses, and up to $250 per week for lost income caused by the accident. Read more about Utah PIP insurance

What steps should I take after a car accident?

Seek medical attention immediately for assessment and evaluation of your condition.

Be clear on what areas are injured and how this has impacted your current function and life at that time. Medical professionals can range from the emergency department, primary care physician, spine or orthopedic specialist, or a physical therapist (you do NOT need a referral from your doctor to see a physical therapist)

Should I file a personal injury claim after a car crash?

If you were injured in a car accident, and meet certain conditions, you should consider getting a consultation with an attorney to protect you against excessive medical expenses. These conditions include:

  • Injured in a car accident in which you were not at fault
  • Injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger

If either of these conditions apply to you, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney to protect yourself.

How do I make a personal injury claim for a car accident?

If you experience a personal injury that is not your fault it’s important to seek consultation from an attorney as early as possible. They can educate you on the steps, especially if you were in a car accident. Auto insurance carriers may try to settle on a dollar amount for injuries incurred early on in the process, prior to all medical assessments and claims being processed. An attorney can help to make sure that all of your medical costs are covered as well as any lost wages.

It is important to seek medical care immediately, to prove that injuries sustained were from the accident, and to ensure proper healing.

What does a physical therapy appointment normally look like?

When you first visit a physical therapist, they will conduct an evaluation to assess your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan. This plan may include a combination of manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue and joint mobilization, to reduce pain and improve mobility.

During your physical therapy sessions, you can expect to engage in various exercises that target the affected areas of your body. These exercises may include gentle stretches to improve flexibility, strengthening exercises to rebuild muscle strength, and balance training to enhance stability. Your therapist will gradually increase the intensity and complexity of these exercises as your body heals and becomes stronger.

In addition to hands-on therapy, your physical therapist may also use treatments like heat or ice therapy, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound to further alleviate pain and promote healing. These treatments can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and accelerate tissue repair.

One of the key benefits of physical therapy is its focus on restoring function and improving your overall quality of life. Your therapist will work with you to set specific goals and milestones, and they will track your progress throughout your treatment. By gradually increasing the intensity and complexity of your exercises, they will help you regain strength, flexibility, and endurance.

What to expect from a personal injury consultation?

A skilled physical therapist will assess your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. They will also help you navigate insurance, and help you understand legal options for your specific situation. They can help refer you to a creditable lawyer or other medical professionals if necessary.

They will work closely with you to address your pain, reduce inflammation, and restore your body’s natural movement patterns. Through a combination of exercises, stretches, manual therapy, and other techniques, they will guide you towards a full recovery.

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