Understanding Chiropractor Malpractice
When you visit a chiropractor, the last thing you expect is for something to go wrong. Unfortunately, negligence and mistakes do happen during chiropractic appointments. When this happens, it is known as malpractice. To understand when malpractice applies to chiropractors, it’s important to know what constitutes malpractice in the first place.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional or provider fails to provide an acceptable standard of care and causes injury or death as a result. This definition applies to any healthcare provider, including chiropractors. Generally speaking, the standard of care is determined by the “prudent practitioner," meaning that any reasonable doctor or healthcare provider practicing under similar circumstances would have done the same thing.
What Does “Negligence” Mean for Chiropractors?
When discussing negligence in the context of chiropractic care, it means that a chiropractor failed to adhere to their duty of providing acceptable care, resulting in an injury or death. Negligence can take many forms—from failing to diagnose an illness properly (or at all) to incorrect treatment methods or improper patient recommendations.
It can also involve inadequate follow-up care after treatment has been given or failure to refer patients out when appropriate. Malpractice also occurs if a chiropractor gives advice that is not based on accepted standards of practice within their profession and causes harm as a result.
If your injury was caused by negligence on the part of your chiropractor, then you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. However, it’s important to remember that not all injuries resulting from chiropractic care constitute malpractice. To prove that your injury was caused by negligence on the part of your chiropractor, you must be able to demonstrate that they failed in their duty of professional care.
How to Protect Yourself Against Chiropractic Malpractice
The best way for patients to protect themselves against potential chiropractic malpractice is by doing their research before selecting a provider and being aware of their rights as patients during treatment. When choosing a provider, make sure they are properly licensed in your state and have experience in treating conditions similar to yours.
Do some research into their credentials and read reviews from past clients (if available). Make sure you understand exactly what kind of treatment they will be providing and ask questions if anything seems unclear or confusing. Additionally, it’s important that you keep detailed records throughout your course of treatment so that if any issues arise you will have evidence as proof.
Examples of Chiropractic Malpractice Cases
Chiropractic malpractice can take many forms, from a chiropractor failing to diagnose an underlying medical condition to negligent manipulation during treatment. Here are some examples of scenarios that could lead to a chiropractic malpractice lawsuit:
- Improper spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation is a common procedure used in chiropractic care. It involves gentle adjustment of the spine and joints to relieve pain, improve mobility, and reduce stress on the spine. The technique is typically recommended for patients with various types of musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain and neck pain. During a spinal manipulation session, the chiropractor will use their hands or special instruments to apply force to the affected area to realign the joints, muscles, and ligaments of the neck and spine. When a chiropractor conducts spinal manipulation incorrectly, it can cause nerve damage and loss of function. Depending on the severity of the manipulation, patients may suffer from minor numbness or tingling to complete paralysis. If nerve damage occurs due to negligence on the part of the practitioner, a malpractice suit could be pursued.
- Chiropractic-induced stroke. Despite the numerous health benefits of chiropractic treatment, aggressive manipulation has been linked to hundreds, if not more, cases of stroke. Tragically, few doctors think to ask a victim or their families about prior chiropractic treatments (i.e. whether they’ve had previous treatment, how they’ve responded to treatments, other health issues/complications, etc.) and this could mean that many go on unrecognized as causes of strokes. Victims in such circumstances have full rights when it comes to accountability and compensation for injury caused by negligent care from a healthcare professional.
- Negligent manipulation of the body. During the course of treatment, chiropractors should be cautious when manipulating or treating certain areas of the body, especially if the patient has injuries or health issues that affect that area. Common injuries that can be sustained in chiropractic adjustments include broken ribs, nerve damage, pinched nerves, herniated discs, sciatic nerve pain, neck pain, and nerve damage.
- Lack of informed consent about treatment risks. After chiropractic treatment, a person may suffer from complications. For instance, you may have pain in an extremity or numbness that won’t go away. In this example, the person may be told by their doctor tat they have a herniated disc that is causing cervical radiculopathy, which is a complication of neck adjustments. That person may have a claim against their chiropractor if they were not made aware of potential complications before beginning treatment.
Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you believe that your chiropractor was negligent in providing care and caused you injury as a result, then you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. The attorneys at The Dickinson Law Firm have decades of collective legal experience, and when you retain our services, you can trust that we can work to help you maximize your compensation and receive the best possible settlement.
Call (770) 924-8155 to schedule an initial consultation today.