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Albany Chiropractor Malpractice Lawyer
If you’re suffering from long-term neck pain and back pain, you may find yourself seeking chiropractic care. After all, this type of healthcare does come with a variety of health benefits, especially if you see an experienced chiropractor. Just like most other medical professionals, though, chiropractors can make big mistakes while manipulating the spine, and cause their patients to suffer severe injuries. A chiropractic injury can lead to thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of pain and suffering. If this sounds like your situation, you may have grounds to file a chiropractor malpractice lawsuit. In order to build the strongest case possible, you need the best law firm on your side.
The legal team at Bailey, Johnson & Peck has what it takes to help victims build strong chiropractic lawsuits. Below, we explain how we can help you do that. To begin an attorney client relationship with us, call 518-456-0082 today. We offer a free consultation to all new clients.
What Do Chiropractors Do?
Chiropractors can improve musculoskeletal pain and disorders through spinal manipulation, stretching, massaging, relaxation, and various forms of exercise. Chiropractors cannot prescribe medications or supplements like medical doctors can. They can, however, provide exercise and diet tips along with their normal chiropractic procedures.
A chiropractor will begin their treatment like a medical doctor: by asking about the patient’s symptoms, taking an X-ray, and performing a physical examination. Once the chiropractor identifies the problem, they will create a unique treatment plan in order to improve the patient’s pain or medical condition.
Common Reasons Why People Seek Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic medicine can be very beneficial for many people. Someone may undergo chiropractic treatment to:
- Improve their head and neck pain
- Improve their lumbar pain
- Make pregnancy and birth as easy and comfortable as possible
- Improve neuropathy pain
- Promote musculoskeletal healing from an auto accident, a work accident, a slip and fall accident, a sports accident, etc.
- Improve headaches
- Improve flexibility and range of motion
Common Chiropractic Injuries
Chiropractic treatment can be very beneficial for pain, but it can also be very dangerous. Chiropractic manipulation often involves moving around the vertebrae in your neck and back. One wrong move here from a negligent chiropractor can result in a serious injury. A chiropractor’s negligence can result in the following types of injuries:
- Neck injuries
- Frequent and intense headaches
- Herniated discs
- Tingling and numbness in the limbs
- Partial or complete paralysis of the face or body
- Spinal stenosis
- Muscle weakness
- Bladder and bowel issues
- Pinched nerves and arteries
- Rib fractures
- Making an existing injury worse
- Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) which can cause stroke symptoms
Nearly 94% of the chiropractic malpractice cases involved in a 2021 study were the result of spinal manipulation injuries. The most common alleged injury was C5-C6 disc herniation (32%). The second most common injury was C6-C7 disc herniation (26%). This study claims that 14% of cases involved strokes and 4% of cases involved rib fractures. The majority of victims (83% to 88%) who suffered disc herniations required surgical intervention.
Chiropractic Induced Stroke
Possibly the most life-threatening chiropractic injury that can occur from negligent manipulation is chiropractic induced stroke. This type of injury can occur through cervical manipulative therapy, which is supposed to adjust the bones in the neck for the sake of pain relief. If the neck is rotated, popped, or jerked at too forcefully, the vertebral and carotid arteries can tear. This is called vertebral artery dissection (VAD).
VAD can turn into a stroke if a blood clot develops at the site of the tear and then travels to the brain.
Chiropractic Malpractice Lawsuit 2013
There have been chiropractor malpractice lawsuits filed in the past for this very issue. In 2013, an Alabama man claimed that he suffered stroke symptoms immediately after undergoing cervical manipulative therapy to treat a “crick” in his neck. The patient claimed that the defendant chiropractor failed to provide informed consent about this type of treatment and all its risks.
The chiropractor’s manipulation of the patient’s neck resulted in torn arteries, which led to a stroke and a 13 day hospital stay. According to a 2013 news report, the patient recovered $575,000 in damages.
Chiropractic Malpractice Incident 2022
More recently, a Georgia woman suffered a stroke, partial paralyzation, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from her chiropractor’s negligent manipulation. According to a 2022 news report, her initial injury was four torn arteries in her neck. From there, she suffered cardiac arrest and a stroke.
These health complications caused her heart to stop for 10 minutes before she was revived. Because the patient didn’t receive oxygen and blood flow to the brain for 10 minutes, she suffered a traumatic brain injury and partial paralyzation.
At the time of writing, this chiropractic malpractice patient is still recovering from her injuries. So far, there is no word of a possible lawsuit or settlement amounts.
How Often Do Chiropractic Injuries Occur?
There’s no way to truly know how many patients suffer health consequences from chiropractic practices. A 2015 study claims that the risk of traumatic injury for chiropractic patients between the ages of 66 and 99 was approximately 40 injuries per 100,000 subjects.
Meanwhile, a 2007 study claims that up to 61% of patients involved in the study suffered mild health consequences from their chiropractic visit. The study also claims that spinal manipulation performed in the neck (cervical) vertebra has the highest risk of mild to moderate health consequences.
Can You Sue a Chiropractor?
Even though chiropractors aren’t medical doctors, you can still sue them in a medical malpractice case, especially if you’ve suffered a serious injury.
How to Prove Chiropractor Malpractice
Similarly to most medical malpractice lawsuits, an injured patient must prove the four elements of negligence in order to build a strong chiropractic malpractice case. A medical malpractice attorney at Bailey, Johnson & Peck can help you do this.
- Duty of Care: Just like all other health care providers, chiropractors owe their patients a specific duty of care.
- Breached Duty of Care: The chiropractor breached this duty of care by failing to properly diagnose a patient with a musculoskeletal condition, failing to provide informed consent about their treatments, prescribing medications or treatments that are outside of the terms of their license, performing a procedure without the patient’s consent, or ultimately injuring the patient.
- Causation: The patient suffered injuries and other damages as a direct result of the chiropractor’s failure to provide a certain standard of care.
- Damages: The patient deserves to recover compensation for the injuries and damages they suffered.
In order to bring a strong medical malpractice action, it’s also important to prove that the chiropractor failed to act as a competent chiropractor would. In order to prove this, personal injury lawyers often have to bring in an expert witness, such as a medical professional.
The expert witness has to be of the same field and education as the negligent medical professional in question. So the expert witness in this case couldn’t be a primary care physician because they have an M.D. Our Albany medical malpractice team would have to bring in an expert witness from the chiropractic profession. They would then help us prove that the chiropractor’s treatment not only violated the four elements of negligence, but also the chiropractor failed to act competently.
Damages for Chiropractor Malpractice
Victims of a chiropractor’s negligence can recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity, if the patient suffers an injury that prevents them from performing the same job duties they could perform before
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Punitive damages
- Funeral and burial expenses (this is reserved for wrongful death cases caused by negligent chiropractic care)
What is the Likelihood of Winning a Chiropractic Malpractice Lawsuit?
According to a 2021 study of 48 chiropractor malpractice cases, the defendant chiropractor wins 70% of the time. Meanwhile, victims of chiropractic manipulation win 20% of the time.
What is the Average Chiropractic Malpractice Settlement Amount?
Victims involved in the aforementioned 2021 study recovered an average compensation of $697,000 from their chiropractic malpractice lawsuits. Meanwhile, other chiropractic malpractice lawsuits reached an average settlement of $596,000.
It’s important to remember in any medical malpractice case that your settlement amount will vary greatly depending on a variety of factors such as the severity of your injuries, the amount of lost wages, whether or not you suffered permanent disability, etc. An Albany medical malpractice attorney at Bailey, Johnson & Peck will carefully review your case and calculate how much compensation you deserve for your chiropractic trauma.
Call Albany Chiropractor Malpractice Lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck TodayIf a chiropractor treats you for a musculoskeletal condition and causes you serious pain or injuries, you may have grounds to sue them in a chiropractic malpractice lawsuit. The legal team at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have what it takes to create a strong medical malpractice case so that you can receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so much more. Call Albany chiropractor malpractice lawyers at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation.
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