Academy of Chiropractic’s Lawyers PI Program
Lawyers and Medical Specialist Meetings and Communications #25
From the Desk of :
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
“The Lawyers REAL Needs”
Too many of you are still struggling in meetings with lawyers and feel that after a great meeting you still get no referrals. Part of the problem is that you are still functioning as doctors and are too focused on your needs and not the needs of the attorneys. You must never lose sight of the fact that the only reason you will get the referral is if you solve a problem with the referral sources. This holds true for both lawyers and the medical community, both of whom can potentially refer to you.
Narrowing this consultation to attorneys you must fully understand the lawyers business and what legal standing is required in order for them to have a case in your state. This has nothing to do with Colossus or the insurance companies and I have yet to meet a lawyer (I have lectured to over 150,000) that has not strongly adhere to this standard. Lawyers still hold true to the philosophy that if they set their cases up for trial from day one settlement will take care of itself. Although this is a poor business standard from lawyers side you will be hard-pressed to undo a career’s worth of action steps and modus operandi.
Initially your goal is to fully understand the lawyer’s paradigm and then gradually get them to understand their next step based upon the results they will get working with you on their cases.
There are many court mandated requirements in order for the lawyer’s case to be brought to trial. The insurance companies also that unless the lawyer has met this “legal litmus test” there will be zero settlement offer, which has nothing to do is settlement algorithms (Colossus). Therefore, in being redundant is mandatory for you to understand your states legal requirements for a lawyer to bring a case to trial (again, knowing you will almost never get trial).
Many states have a “threshold” requirement. In order to have legal standing of a case to be accepted by the courts you must meet this standard and two of the most difficult standards are in New York and New Jersey. These states mandate that lawyers meet a very specific criteria not just win a case but to be able to initiate the case. The standard in New York is defined as “permanent and significant impairment of body, part or function.” New Jersey has a verbal threshold and Florida, simply threshold. Regardless of the language, the requirements are the same.
Unless the lawyer has documented and demonstrable proof of the above, they have no case. In addition, the courts in these “bell-weather” states are very lenient in summary judgments for dismissal so as not to tie up the courts in “non-threshold cases.” Therefore, lawyers of these states must function in a higher level than any other state with one goal in mind. Where is the demonstrable proof of permanent bodily injury? Which raises significant challenges in the soft tissue cases for the lawyers.
According to 10,000’s lawyers nationally if this standard is met in virtually every state, every plaintiff lawyer will prevail regardless of that state’s standard. As a result it has been my goal to teach you how to document the bodily injuries (when clinically present) at the highest national level, which then makes the lawyer’s job that much easier and places you “ahead of the pack” of your competition. This also holds true for New York, Florida and New Jersey because very few doctors understand the business and legal requirements of the lawyers they work with.
The key in every state is demonstrative evidence of bodily injuries.Historically an MRI finding of a herniated disc was the sole source of demonstrative evidence of soft tissue injuries and over the last 30+ years I have been arguing, pontificating and shouting that many patients with normal MRI’s have devastating injuries, which has fallen on deaf ears in the legal system. The sole reason: lack of demonstrative evidence. I have argued positive electrodiagnostic testing, functional losses, histories and everything else medicine has offered as proof in the absence of a positive MRI. At the end of the day the courts have always swayed towards the demonstrative evidence, which has become the core of the defense counsel and IME strategies through the years.
That is one of the reasons why ligamentous laxity has become so important because it gives you the visual demonstrative evidence missing when MRI’s are normal.
As an example, Montana has no serious injury threshold and is an “at fault” state allowing for modified (51%) negligence. Therefore plaintiff (injured person) can recover damages provided that his or her liability is no more than 50%. Texas uses a “fault” system that requires drivers to pay for the accidents because. After an accident driver, passenger or pedestrians who suffers an injury may decide to file a claim his or her own auto insurance first, in what’s known as open quote first party” claims. The injured person might also see compensation from the other driver’s insurance by following what’s known as a “third-party” claims where the second party insurance company. Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, yet has “comparative fault” provisions in the law to resolve personal injury cases.
As you can see there are 50 states with 50 sets of rules that lawyers are bound by. It is incumbent upon you to learn the rules of your state by typing on the Google look-up bar “New York bodily injury threshold” (please substitute your state’s name... duhhh!!!!).
After reading about the rules in your state strongly suggested that you contact a local attorney you have any relationship with and ask them if they would allow you to take it out for breakfast or lunch to help you with education about laws, regulations and case law in your state to have standing to bring case to the courts. It is been my extensive experience almost 100% of who you ask will agree to meet with you because it now puts them in the role of teacher and they relish that position.
In order to go to the next level, you must learn more… This is one place that your time will be well spent!