Hurt in a car wreck? Need medical care for a personal injury? If so, where should you turn for treatment?
Car accidents cause many different injuries. Some are minor. Some are not. Some injuries result in long-term treatment needs, physical limitations, chronic pain or even disability. In our practice, we speak with many people hurt in car accidents.
One of the issues that sometimes arises when we interview new clients is the issue of chiropractic care. Many people regularly see and benefit from chiropractors. Chiropractors can perform helpful adjustments and other therapies for some people.
Is chiropractic care (by itself) a good choice for your injuries after a car wreck? We believe the answer is often, no. We are not doctors and this post is not an effort to provide medical advice. But, it is written from the viewpoint of helping many car wreck victims obtain compensation by settlements and trials. Here are three reasons why chiropractic care, alone, may not be the best idea:
Chiropractic Treatment Is Limited
For soft tissue and whiplash injuries, chiropractic care may be a valuable part of treatment. For some back injuries, this is also true. Yet, many injuries fall outside the specialty offered by chiropractors. The following are some injuries where chiropractic care is not adequate for car accident injuries. They include: Bone fractures, Internal injuries, Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Spinal cord injury. Each of these injuries require specialized care.
Additionally, some back and neck injuries involve conditions like herniated discs, impinged nerves or fractured vertebra, which also require specialized care. While chiropractors may provide treatment for patients with back and neck injuries, they should work with the necessary specialists on these conditions.
Chiropractors cannot perform surgery or other invasive procedures. They cannot prescribe medications or perform many other available therapies. They cannot perform all the available treatments for chronic pain. Again, while some injuries can be fully treated by a chiropractor, many cannot. You need to seek the specialists appropriate for your injuries.
Chiropractic Treatment Faces Skeptical Jurors
Ask a lawyer who actually tries cases and they will admit, some jurors are skeptical of chiropractic care. I don’t say this as criticism. But, it is an impact. I will never forget the first car wreck case I tried where the primary treatment was chiropractic. I was in Decatur and my client had no treatment other than a chiropractor. I prepared for some skepticism among potential jurors. I’m thankful I did. In the pool of potential jurors, quite a few expressed reservations about chiropractors. While we were successful in our case, I’ve watched trials where other lawyers did not prepare for this skepticism and lost. I’ve talked to jurors during jury selection and after trials who expressed reservations about chiropractic treatment. Any lawyer who tries cases should take this skepticism into consideration. It should impact the jury selection process. It should impact your trial theme and presentation.
If your lawyer is not concerned about this issue, then maybe you should ask him or her some serious questions. If that lawyer has real trial experience, this issue will be a concern.
Chiropractic Treatment (Alone) Impacts Settlement Values
In Alabama, we have lawyers who regularly advertise on television and radio for personal injury cases. When those advertising lawyers get cases, they sometimes direct the clients to a specific chiropractor with whom the lawyer has a relationship. That’s wrong. It’s terribly wrong for the client who needs to see the right specialists for his or her injuries. It’s terribly wrong for the client who needs treatment aimed at healing rather than increasing the medical bills.
Don’t think for one second the insurance companies are ignorant of these relationships. Insurance companies know which lawyers prepare their case. They know which lawyers will go to trial. And, they know when an advertising lawyer sends the bulk of his clients to the same chiropractic clinic over and over.
Insurance companies also look closely at the bills from medical providers. They know which providers generate high charges for care. Frankly, the insurance companies know which lawyers are simply running up a bill that they will never argue in trial. All these issues impact the amount offered to settle your case.
Please don’t read my post as any criticism of specific medical professionals. It is not. I have friends who are chiropractors in both Huntsville and Decatur. And, I believe chiropractic physicians can be a valuable part of the overall picture of an accident victim’s injuries. Medical doctors, chiropractors and other healthcare specialists should all work together to heal patients and to provide complete care.
I have used the testimony of chiropractors in cases involving significant verdicts. If you are injured, you need to seek the right medical specialists for your particular injuries. You need the right treatment to heal. And, you need a lawyer who understands the benefits and problems of claims where chiropractic care is the only treatment.