Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 78
"Do Lawyers Take you Seriously?
When you have a PI patient where a lawyer is involved, does that lawyer ask you for your CV? If the answer is yes, that lawyer considers you an expert and you have achieved a reputation that is positive. If the answer is no, that lawyer doesn’t consider you an expert for their clients and will use your testing results, but is not very interested in you or your work. In addition, he/she will usually never consider you in the future to treat any of his/her clients.
As I explained to you in a previous e-mail, I just returned from traveling to Florida to lecture to lawyers. This concluded a stretch of lecturing to groups of lawyers twice per week for 2 months around the country. As I travel around the country, it gives me an insight as to what the shifting needs of the lawyers are nationally to help guide you and your practice in meeting the needs of the medical-legal community. These last few weeks were very enlightening as it clarified an issue I have been talking about for some time.
The main clinical issues of the lawyers are herniated discs and arthritic degeneration and over time we will be addressing those issues. The focus on herniated discs has been a prime issue for quite some time, but bodily injury and associated arthritic degeneration is a very big problem for lawyers and is getting worse. It appears that if arthritic degeneration is present, it negates much of the lawyer’s argument and is based on nonsense, not physiological fact.
This is an issue that has been the focus of my lectures to lawyers nationally and one that gets their attention in realizing that I am the expert on this issue. In the next few weeks I am going to create a full consultation and a continuing education course, both on that very issue, in order to give you the credential you need to resolve this issue. You will be the first ever to attain that credential, anywhere. This will give you an edge over anyone, in any discipline, to help resolve this issue and allow you to discuss it in court admissibly. It will also give you a competitive edge in the eyes of the lawyers.
Beyond the clinical issues, the #1 issue discussed in the lectures in the form of questions or discussed after the lectures when lawyers talk to me privately, is that of curriculum vitaes. The legal community is getting hit harder than us, as a profession. The opposing side is arguing more fiercely that chiropractors are not qualified on a multitude of issues and are prevailing nationally in preventing testimony. As a result, the adjustor’s are not offering the lawyers the settlements previously offered if a chiropractor is the lead doctor.
The response is simply that of a curriculum vitae or lack thereof. I have now critiqued over 1000 chiropractors’ CV’s nationally and I can say with a great degree of certainty that less than a handful were acceptable, admissible and not embarrassing upon first glance. In addition, once put in correct format, not many more had the credentials needed by the lawyers to use as leverage to prevail.
In fact, 2 days ago in Tampa, a lawyer raised his hand and said, “Every time I use a chiropractor as my expert, the insurance companies dismiss the doctor as expert and I have a very hard time prevailing in my case.” He then went on to ask me to help him resolve this issue because it is a very big problem. I did something I rarely do in a lecture because I am there to promote the sponsoring doctor (in this case there were four chiropractors in the room who were co-sponsoring this lecture). I put my CV on the screen and proceeded to show the audience my credentials. I then asked every lawyer in this packed room to do the following: Send the insurance adjustor this CV and highlight my credentials on 1. MRI interpretation 2. electrodiagnostic interpretation 3. disc pathology 4. spine pathology 5. triaging the injured and 6. neuropathology. Once they have seen these credentials, state the following, “I am happy to take this issue to trial with this expert and these credentials and you know that the judge will allow his opinions on these issues into evidence as a result of the credentials. Let’s discuss settlement.”
Not only did every lawyer in the room agree with my explanation based upon the credentials of a chiropractor, but 10 minutes later, at the end of the presentation, 100% of the audience filled out a little yellow piece of paper wanting those 4 doctors in the room to visit them immediately in their offices to get information and work with these doctors at different levels. If the lawyers in the room had no interest in working with these doctors as experts, the invitations would not be there. In addition, each of the four doctors in the room had their CV’s in the handout portfolio and during this part of the talk, the lawyers were not only looking at my credentials, but the other four as well.
The last question I asked the lawyers in the room and those across the nation is, “What is more important, the CV or the narrative?” The answer I always receive is, “They are equal.” No findings, no case. No credentials and they are unable to admit the evidence into testimony and at the end of the day, there is no case.
Here is the call to action. If your CV hasn’t been critiqued, send it immediately. If you need credentials, get them. Lawyers will only work with those doctors who can help them prevail on their cases.
In addition, I only want to work with doctors who are the best-of-the-best. That is my goal and if you aren’t willing to make the commitment to being the best, it is only a matter of time until your practice will falter and you will wallow in mediocrity for a career, blaming everyone, but yourself. Accept nothing less than being the best.