Issue: September 2018
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Chiropractic: Risks That Manipulation May Lead to Litigation

Introduction

Chiropractic Negligence Liability

Over 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time, and many seek chiropractic relief. Experts have estimated that 80% or more of the U.S. population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives, with costs approaching $50 billion every year on back pain remedies and treatments.

 

Not all chiropractic treatments result in relief from pain or other relief, and some may result in patient injury. A chiropractic patient in his thirties has alleged a stroke was caused by the chiropractor following a “forceful” neck adjustment. In the resulting lawsuit, the patient alleged negligence. The complaint raised issues concerning the training and competency of the chiropractor and whether the patient was told about the risks of the neck treatment. 

 

Attorneys, chiropractors, physicians, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with an injury related to chiropractic treatment.


The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy

Attorneys:

What proof is needed for a claim involving chiropractic treatment? And, what is a potential strategy for the attorney to employ?

Physicians:

How can liability for medical malpractice be avoided for an injury related to chiropractic treatment? And, what is a potential strategy for the chiropractor to employ?

Insurers:

Can a payout under a medical malpractice liability policy be avoided by proof that the chiropractor was not negligent or there was no coverage for the insured chiropractor’s actions? And, what is a potential strategy for the insurer to employ?

Employers:

Can an employer be subject to liability for injuries resulting from chiropractic treatment? And, what is a potential strategy for the employer to use?


Practice the Technique: Checklists

Attorneys:

Check this list of facts and circumstances tending to show a chiropractor’s liability for malpractice or negligence.

Physicians:

Presented is a checklist of items a chiropractor must consider when defending against claims of malpractice or negligence.

Insurers:

The insurer should check these “red flags” and inconsistencies when investigating a claim of chiropractic malpractice or negligence.

Employers:

Presented is a checklist of items an employer must consider when determining if the employee’s chiropractic injury is compensable.

Expert Analysis

What Risks Are Associated with Chiropractic Neck Treatments?

William Lauretti, DC

Under What Circumstances Are Workers Compensation Benefits Awarded for the Chiropractic Care of Work Injuries?

Wayne M. Whalen, DC

Litigation

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation may be required by contract or statute, may be mandated by the court or, in some circumstances, may be the appropriate method for a negotiated resolution.


Reasons to Reach Settlement

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician/chiropractor, insurer, or employer would want to reach settlement, and not take the action to trial.


Reasons to Go to Trial

The following are reasons why the attorney, physician/chiropractor, insurer, or employer would want to take the action to trial.


Jury Awards and Settlements

How much have juries awarded and what settlements have been reached recently in cases involving chiropractic injuries?



Medical Examples

Chiropractic Care and Chiropractors

This section provides medical information on chiropractic adjustments, manipulations, and treatments; chiropractors including chiropractic training and education; safety concerns; contraindications; complications; and other alternative treatments. Also discussed is the patient’s ability to work after a chiropractic treatment.



Law and Medicine Resources

Law and Medicine Resources

Provided is a listing of law and medical resources for further information on negligence associated with chiropractic care.


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Chiropractic: Risks That Manipulation May Lead to Litigation

Table of Contents
Introduction

Expert Analysis
   William Lauretti, DC
   Wayne M. Whalen, DC

The Perspectives: Improve Your Strategy
   Attorneys Perspective
   Physicians and Health Providers Perspective
   Insurers Perspective
   Employers and Risk Managers Perspectives

Practice the Technique: Checklists
   Attorney Checklist
   Chiropractor Checklist
   Insurer Checklist
   Employer Checklist

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Reasons to Reach Settlement

Reasons to Go to Trial

Jury Awards and Settlements

Chiropractic Care and Chiropractors

Law and Medicine Resources