Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 91
I have read too many narratives that open with a history that says, “Mrs. Jones was rear-ended while stopped. She was restrained by her seat belt after being pushed into the steering wheel.” My question is, “Were you there? Did you witness the accident?” Of course not. Therefore, the language needs to be, “Mrs. Jones stated…”
In addition, do not comment on the amount of damage or the condition of the road. You are not the police, the body repair person or a credentialed accident reconstructionist. You are a doctor and your comments should be limited to what you are expert in. Suffice it to say, the patient was rear-ended…and do not say the speed at which the collision occurred because the patient did not have a radar gun out. Use “rear-ended at a [slow, moderate or fast] rate.” These are plausible estimates when being cross-examined in court, as you recount what the patient relayed to you.
The history is very important when determining causality and lawyers will sometimes push you to include too much. Keep your comments factual, but within your area of expertise. They did not teach us auto body repair in professional school. It is also acceptable to let lawyers know that there are limits to what you can and can’t write. They are seeking correlation to causality, bodily injury and persistent functional loss and that is what your specialty is. You do not have to answer every question for their cases; you are a piece of their puzzle…a very big piece, but not the whole puzzle.