At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker we get many questions from clients and prospective clients regarding MRIs. These are expensive tests but the results can be important. We are not medical professionals and recommend that everyone follow the advice of their doctors. That said, we can give you some more information on the potential pros and cons of MRIs in accident cases.
What Exactly is an MRI?
First of all, let us discuss what an MRI is. Short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, it is a type of imaging that is used similarly to x-rays in that the purpose is to diagnose issues within the body. It is different from x-rays in a number of ways, including the fact that it can show images of non-bone matter. For example, you can see disc material in the spine in an MRI. This is why it is so often used in car accidents or slip and fall accidents – the discs are often the source of pain and doctors need to see what the issue is to properly treat the injury.
The Advantages of Having an MRI
If you have suffered a neck injury, spinal cord injury, or back injury, then an MRI may be essential to locating the cause of your injuries so that your doctor can properly treat you. When they are aware of the exact location and cause of your injuries, they are able to use less invasive techniques to treat the exact issue. If your injury is very serious, then the MRI will be essential to helping your doctor decide if surgery is necessary and, if it is, how and where to perform it.
As to your personal injury case, an MRI can help boost the value of your claim. Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and bruising, generally do not get the same level of compensation compared to slipped discs or nerve compression, which may only be shown on MRIs.
The Main Disadvantage of Getting an MRI
From a medical standpoint, there are no real disadvantages to getting an MRI. In fact, they are one of the best ways to give your doctors all the information they need to treat you. That said, from a legal and financial viewpoint, an MRI may not make sense.
The main issue is that MRIs are expensive. Even with health insurance, a typical patient may pay upwards of $1,000 to have the test done. If it is being done for medical reasons then it is likely well worth the cost. However, if it is being done only to show an injury for a personal injury case, then it may not be necessary.
This is because settlements do not always increase due to what is shown on an MRI. About one if our people have some type of disc bulging, which the insurance adjuster can use against you. While, again, we always recommend an MRI if the doctor does, if you are doing it only to prove your injuries then it may not be worth the cost.