Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 44
"Narrative Critique & Reformat"
I am very tough on critiquing your narratives, almost to the point of being a sarcastic ass. Let me re-phrase that; I am at that point. If I have reviewed your CV and have found issues, this is a very good thing because if your narrative was good and you still were not getting the referrals you wanted, I would worry.
I lectured in Tampa last week to a large crowd of PI lawyers, who once again confirmed that the narrative and your CV are of equal importance and they had absolutely no requests to make changes on the narrative, confirming it is still state of the art. You need to ensure that your narrative is up to speed, as well as your credentials.
I did get one comment from a lawyer in the crowd, which is the same comment I have gotten previously from other lawyers. He had an issue with the impairment rating and the functional loss statements. Since Florida is a mandatory impairment rating state, I added it to the sample narrative I showed them.
Before the lawyer finished his statement, I interrupted him and said, “You are a trial lawyer, aren’t you?” He said he was. At that time, I informed him that I now respected his abilities, as a very good trial lawyer, by his comment. Good trial lawyers do not want impairment ratings or specific functional losses in their narratives. Does that seem contradictory to what I have been teaching you?
I explained to the lawyer in the seminar that trial lawyers do not want those statements, while lawyers who settle cases must have those statements. As a doctor, I will adjust my report to either add or remove those statements with the proviso that I will never change a finding. The Impairment Rating is an interpretation and I can happily leave out the interpretation, as well as the functional loss, as that is not a finding, but a reporting of what the patient said. They can talk to the patient and learn it themselves, if they so choose.
You must understand that 99% of all cases are settled and do not go to trial. Therefore, you tailor your report to the overwhelming majority with the understanding that you can also be flexible, in an ethical manner, to accommodate the trial lawyers. Once you explain this to a lawyer, you will have gained their respect, as you will have demonstrated that you understand their needs and can resolve them in an honest and ethical manner.