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Personal injury cases can be complex and stressful for patients, especially if they have suffered severe physical injuries. As a chiropractor, you play a crucial role in providing healthcare to your patients, but you also have a responsibility to document, communicate, and potentially testify in personal injury cases. In this blog, we’ll discuss best practices that chiropractors can follow to support their patients’ personal injury cases.
Keep detailed records of all treatment you provide, including the patient’s initial assessment, treatment plan, progress notes, and any changes to the plan. It is critical to document that an accident has occurred resulting in injury (if that is your medical opinion). This documentation will be important if the patient’s case goes to court.
Communicate with the patient’s attorney
It is crucial for doctors to communicate with the personal injury attorney representing their patient when there are significant updates or issues. By providing timely updates and addressing any concerns promptly, doctors can assist the attorney in building a strong case. A good personal injury attorney values open and transparent communication from healthcare providers as it ensures that all parties involved are well-informed and working towards a common goal.
Document the end of treatment for the injury caused by the accident
It is helpful to all parties involved to clearly document in the patient’s medical records when the patient is no longer receiving treatment for the accident in question. This ensures that everyone is aware of the patient’s status and can avoid any unnecessary procedures or expenses. Clear documentation helps avoid confusion, provides legal evidence of the patient’s progress, and ensures appropriate patient care. It also helps inform future treatment decisions and prevents delays in the settlement process for the client.
Stay objective with the patient
By staying objective and leaving the legal aspects of the case to the patient’s attorney, chiropractors can avoid feeling pressured to give an opinion about legal matters. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, and allow them to focus on what they do best – providing healthcare to the patient. It also ensures that the patient receives the best possible care they need and that their legal rights are protected.
If you have been called as a witness
If the patient’s case goes to court, be prepared to provide testimony about the reasonableness and necessity of their treatment, and that it was caused by the accident. This includes having organized and easily accessible documentation, as well as being prepared to answer questions about the treatment plan, progress notes, and permanency of any injuries caused by the accident. By doing so, chiropractors can help support the patient’s case and ensure that their treatment is viewed as essential and effective. It’s important to stay focused on the patient’s physical health and well-being throughout the legal process and provide truthful and accurate testimony when needed.
The opinion of medical probability in a personal injury case
In personal injury cases in the state of Wisconsin, the standard of medical probability applies to the opinion of chiropractors regarding their patients’ medical treatment. If a patient has been injured in an accident and has a personal injury case, their chiropractor’s opinion must meet the legal standard of proving that the injury is more likely than not (greater than 50% probability) caused by the accident in question.
Many patients are not aware of their rights
Patients who have been injured in an accident may not be familiar with the legal process and their rights as a victim. It is clear that the insurance company is not prioritizing their best interests when it comes to their personal injury claim. Therefore, you could be the only opportunity they have to be guided towards help.
In conclusion, chiropractors play a critical role in supporting personal injury cases. By following these best practices, chiropractors can provide excellent healthcare to their patients while also ensuring that they are documenting, communicating, and potentially testifying to support their patients’ legal cases. As a result, patients can receive the compensation and care they deserve, ultimately leading to justice.
It is important for chiropractors to be aware of and adhere to the ethical standards established by the Wisconsin Chiropractic Examining Board, American Chiropractic Association and any other regulatory bodies. Any violation of these standards can result in legal and professional consequences. Additionally, chiropractors should keep themselves updated with the latest laws and regulations related to personal injury cases in their state.
It is also essential to note that this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or professional advice. Chiropractors should always consult with their legal counsel and professional organizations for specific guidance on how to support their patients’ personal injury cases while adhering to ethical and legal standards.