We had a client who didn’t want to get an MRI. He was worried about radiation exposure.

We explained that because radiation is not used, there is no risk of exposure to radiation during an MRI procedure. Problem solved.

But what about x-rays and CT scans?

Here’s a chart that shows the radiation exposure with different imaging procedures:

Radiation is measured in millisieverts (mSV).

The average radiation exposure is 2 or 3 mSv per year. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements explains that adults working with radioactive materials should be exposed to no more than 50 mSv per year.

Diagnostic x-rays and (particularly) CT scans are a significant source of radiation exposure.

The United States Food and Drug Administration warns that the kind of exposure associated with multiple x-rays and CT scans increases the possibility of fatal cancer.

After a bad wreck it’s not uncommon for people to have 100 x-rays and 10 CT scans. That’s about 50 times more radiation than someone who didn’t get in a wreck and several times more than even people working with radioactive materials.

Radiation exposure causes cancer. To put it in perspective, the increased cancer risk associated with wreck-related imaging can equate to smoking thousands or tens of thousands of cigarettes.

That risk would’t be there if someone hadn’t negligently caused the wreck. That risk should be monetized and included in the damages awarded.

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