In speaking with personal injury attorneys, when it comes to chiropractors there are some things they tend to have in common. First, they do appreciate that most people injured in a motor vehicle collision see a chiropractor. Unfortunately, all too often they tend to be frustrated by the lack of value most DCs bring to a case.
The good news is, that is changing. For the past two years the American Academy of Motor Vehicle Injuries has been teaching Arizona-based chiropractic physicians how to properly diagnose, document, and manage a personal injury case. Why is this important to you and how can it help your cases?
The first advantage is being able to diagnose the problems that most MDs, including those in emergency departments overlook simply because they do not understand the mechanism of injury. If you do not know what to look for, the chances of finding it are severely reduced.
Nelson Hendler at Johns Hopkins found that 67 percent of patients involved in litigation were misdiagnosed. Most had received a diagnosis of sprain/strain injuries, but additional testing found more serious problems including herniated discs, ligament laxity, compression fractures, and facet syndrome.
To make matters worse, half of these patients required surgery. Granted, facet injections are a surgical procedure but if you have ever shown a jury the size of that needle you also know the value it adds to a case.
Chiropractors certified in motor vehicle injuries by the AAMVI have studied the mechanism of injury in each direction that a motor vehicle collision can occur. They understand which structures and bodily functions can be affected depending upon the direction of impact.
They understand which injuries are more common in a low-speed or a highspeed collision. They also know how to take into account the effects of safety devices built into the vehicle and what injuries to look for when airbags deploy or seatbelts lock.
These chiropractors know the effects of the human variables and taking into account things like gender, age, size and physical conditioning. These doctors are fully aware that four people in a vehicle that is in a crash will likely suffer four completely different sets of injuries.
Given this much information and knowing how to work with it, our doctors are in a better position to find the more serious diagnoses at the beginning of care. Compare this with the sprain/strain most doctors provide you and that for which the insurance company will most likely deny care beyond six weeks.
AAMVI certified doctors know which test is most appropriate. They also know when to test to establish the proper diagnosis early on. Odds are that you have had cases where an MRI done six months or later after the crash is denied because you cannot establish the crash as the cause of the injuries.
Our doctors have learned that if the patient continues to complain of pain or continues to show positive findings on examination, then additional testing may be in order. They know the shockingly high prevalence of false negatives and positives and with that will retest or do additional testing.
These doctors also know how to properly manage a personal injury case. This includes chiropractic care that fits comfortably within the Croft guidelines as well as documentation that supports the diagnosis and treatment. This too is justified by medically indicated testing and referral to the appropriate specialists who can help the patient.
Working with these chiropractors who have extensive training in motor vehicle injuries which exceeds that of most doctors, will help you to reduce the risk of long drawn out litigation. When you have the proper diagnosis with the proper testing to support that diagnosis as well as the documentation to support the need for treatment you will see the difference in your cases.
With these doctors you can reduce the risk of dealing with a DME or going to court. These doctors will provide you with enough ammunition so that you are not going into a gunfight with a pocket knife. Dr. Bill Gallagher, DC, CMVI