Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 312

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

"The Real Competition in Personal Injury"

This past week, I lectured in Delaware. Being a small state, we had close to 50% of the personal injury lawyers that practice in the state attending the seminar. This is a statistic verified by one of the attendees, a board of governor for the Delaware State Trial Lawyers Association. Therefore, the opinion in the room was the guiding belief in the entire state. 
 
On a side note, this coming week I am lecturing to the Massachusetts Trial Lawyers Association. Next month, I am lecturing to the same group in New Jersey. I am waiting for the invitation from the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association for the end of June and we are planning to do the same in New York and Connecticut. My goal is to lecture at the national convention...Then game over...and you win. I will expound on this more, over time, in later consultations.
 
One of the lawyers candidly shared that he wanted to know why he should refer or work with a chiropractor when the courts, not long ago, didn't even recognize the chiropractor as an expert. THAT IS THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM and one you will encounter nationally. My answer to the lawyer was that I agreed with him and he shouldn't refer or work with chiropractors...except...I answered the rest of the question by starting with legal education. I explained that New Jersey was the first state in the nation to enact a law that requires an expert to be able to show evidence of advanced training (CVs) in the subject he/she is testifying on. As an example, if an expert (MD, DC, DO, DDS, etc.) is testifying on MRI, then evidence on MRI spine interpretation is required for a judge to certify that doctor as expert. Texas has just passed a similar law and over time, I expect that to be the norm nationally. Texas has proposed that unless you are a professor in a teaching institution, then you cannot testify. However, I think that will never pass. 
 
I continued with my answer asking the lawyer how many years has he been practicing and the answer was 25. I told him that 10-15-20 years ago, the courts were very prejudiced against chiropractic because we didn't have the credentials to be experts and I agree that I, too, would have referred to the orthopedist or neurologist. I went on to let him know what the problem with the orthopedist or neurologist was in years gone by. I said the problem is they only saw a patient once or twice and didn't understand both the continuum of care or the persistent functional losses and he agreed.
 
In today's economy, I continued, when specialists are charging $10,000-$15,000 to testify, you cannot afford to bring cases to trial and cannot even threaten the carriers to settle because they know that. The solution is to look at today's choices, not those of 10-15 years ago. I then turned to the DCs in the room sponsoring the event and said, "Do you have credentials in MRI spine interpretation? Do you have credentials in triaging the injured? Do you have credentials in EMG interpretation? Do you have credentials in accident reconstruction?" The answer to all of the above was, "YES!"
 
I concluded to the lawyers in the room that I agree, most DCs are poor candidates to represent their clients as experts, but there are a few that are highly trained and highly credentialed. I then proceeded to march the 2 doctors in the room in front of the crowd, asking them to fill in for me as I took a break. Afterwards, I explained to the lawyers in the room that this wasn't scripted, it was just the highly-trained doctors sharing their knowledge as trauma specialists who have the credentials and this is what they do in court. 
 
At the end of the seminar, 100% of the audience filled out cards for the DCs to go into their offices ASAP and share their knowledge with them and help them with their cases. Not one lawyer in the room, based upon the feedback I got after the program, had any further problems about working with the chiropractors in the room and it was 100% based upon their credentials first, their knowledge second and finally, their ability to explain the medical issues of the bodily injury as they would in court.  

That is your competition with lawyers. To recap:
 
1.  Prejudice against DCs in past court experiences
2.  Wanting a medical specialist because your DC predecessors were subpar
3.  Your lack of credentials
4.  Lack of the lawyers realizing your credentials
5.  Lack of the lawyers knowing how to use your credentials
 
Please note that other DCs are not on the list as they are not your competition. Very few nationally have your knowledge or credentials and if you have gone through the program and followed the plan, you will win because you are the best of the best. 

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