Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 38
"Just Like 3rd Grade, Grammar Counts"
In an interview with a dozen lawyers over the last few weeks, I have asked a simple question, “Does grammar count in a medical-legal report?” The question was answered 100% of the time with an emphatic, “YES!” The reason is simple. If a sentence is structured incorrectly, such as using the wrong verb or adjective, then it can change the entire meaning of the issue and the lawyer can lose the case, as it will be left open to perhaps the wrong interpretation.
The solution is simple. Have someone you trust that excels in the utilization of the English language proof read your reports prior to being sent to a lawyer. I do. In fact, every consultation that is posted on the Internet is proofed by Allison, my program coordinator, who, as I have shared with you before, is an academic snob from those very fancy colleges in Boston. She doesn't snicker behind my back when she proofs my material…she rubs my nose in it. At least in the beginning she did; I guess it is no longer fun for her to show off!
The point is simple; your work must be grammatically accurate, admissible and reflect your clinical excellence. As a doctor you can ensure the last 2 issues, but the first is a challenge because we were not literary majors. I know first-hand because I read your reports and for the most part, doctors do not know how to write. Some of you are outstanding, but the majority, as I did in the beginning, need help. Get that help, so you look on paper as wonderful as you really are. Grammar counts. Lawyers spend their entire professional careers tearing apart language in contracts, regulations, laws, reports and affidavits to find the weakness to prevail in their cases. Poor grammar is a weakness that will cause them to potentially lose.
If you cannot find someone to proof read your reports, I have asked Allison if she will do so for you and she has agreed. She will not consider any clinical information, only how it is articulated in correct grammar. She has agreed to charge only $25 per report proofed and will do so within 48 hours. You should only consider medical-legal reports for proofing, as insurance reports are not that critical, unless you know it will be a case a lawyer will eventually handle. Should you have any questions, please call either myself or Allison directly. Her number is 631-626-0406.