Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 104
"The First Phone Call to the Lawyer"
As previously written about in the consultations, the first phone call to the lawyer is a critical relationship builder. It takes the place of unnecessary paperwork that will clutter the lawyer’s file with documents he/she cannot use and create confusion later in the case.
The purpose of the phone call is to inform the lawyer that you have evaluated his/her client and give him/her a brief overview of what you have found. Inform the lawyer of the testing ordered, the time frame for that testing to occur and any outside referrals to specialists. Request a release for the records so he/she can be sent, in 6-8 weeks, enough to determine the nature of the injury, once the evaluations, testing and treatment records are complete. Also let him/her know that you will be calling if the patient is not compliant with the treatment plan so he/she can help keep the patient on track.
During the conversation, inform the lawyer that you will be forwarding all of the records and a copy of your curriculum vitae, as a matter of procedure, in 6-8 weeks. You will also be calling to request a sit-down with him/her to review all of the findings so he/she is clear about the causality, bodily injury and persistent functional losses, should they be present. This will let the lawyer know instantly that you understand his/her needs, something very few doctors do. There are reasons why some doctors have big PI practices and others do not and never will. This is one of those reasons, as you are starting to understand the business of the lawyer in an ethical manner.
There is nothing else that needs to be done until you have completed a significant amount of care. How can you write a report if you have no findings? The initial evaluation is not admissible for the lawyer, as there has been no care and all that matters is what has persisted after a reasonable course of care has concluded. Some lawyers want every piece of paper immediately. Just remind them that you will be forwarding every report in 6-8 weeks, in one bundle.
The first call is a huge relationship builder and a compelling reason for a lawyer to get on the phone with you. The call should be placed on the day following the initial evaluation and you should be persistent about speaking to the lawyer directly, not the staff. Should you not make the phone call until a few days later, that is okay, but you want to beat your patient to the lawyer with the phone call after the examination, thereby getting your message across without it being tainted by the patient. Not calling is a huge missed opportunity.