Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 228

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

“One Opinion Does Not Make the Rule”

I hear lots of issues on a daily basis about what works and what doesn't from many of you in the field and from many lawyers practicing across the country. I get opinions on what constitutes "verbal threshold," a legal term in many states that means a lawyer can bring a case to trial or win a settlement if proven. I also get opinions on whether a case with pre-existing injuries will cause the cases to be lost entirely and other cases where I am told a chiropractor can never be an expert because the lawyers simply cannot win with in court. The number of opinions are like butts...everyone has one!
 
I am not suggesting you ignore the advice from the legal community. I am, however, STRONGLY suggesting that you do your homework as I have both for myself and you. I certainly do not have all of the answers and in this business, the game changes so frequently that an answer today might be moot tomorrow. In fact, if you read the consultations, I am sure a later consult will contradict an earlier one. It's not that I changed my mind and was sloppy in reporting; it's that the needs of the courts and, henceforth, the medical-legal community change so often. It's my job to help you keep up with the changes as timely as possible to stay on the cutting edge. There are also many times that the work we do is the CAUSE of the changes in the courts, such as our work with pre-existing issues. As a result of the direction many of you have taken with the information on the educational pages on our site, many courts nationally are no longer accepting pre-existing arthritis for summary judgment for dismissal of cases any longer. A huge victory for our patients that have real injuries and should never be "languaged out in an argument" by a slick lawyer. 
 
In my own experience, I was told that being a chiropractor means that the lawyers will automatically lose their cases and this has been an issue for years in the New York courts. As a result, I backed off how I practiced and worked hard to create a multi-disciplined approach to my accident cases. After years of creating what I thought to be the perfect infrastructure for a medical-legal environment, a lawyer came to me and said, "Too bad you have MD's on your team. I only want chiropractors as you people understand the injuries of your patients so much better and I  always win by working just with you." After years and over $1,000,000 spent to create the MD-DC scenario, I felt like the fool because I listened to the select few lawyers who, through their own shortcomings, didn't know how to argue a case with a chiropractor. What an ass...ME!
 
What I learned through that experience was that each lawyer has an opinion and it is right for him/her. In order to get a barometer on how to function, you have to get a sampling from lots of lawyers over time and understand the recent rulings that come down from the courts.
 
Just last week, a doctor told me that a lawyer had shared with him that credentials really do not matter to lawyers and therefore, it was a waste of his time to do the work and spend the money for formal credentials. My reply was, "I am sure that lawyer feels that way. However, I am also sure that the largest law firms nationally live and die for credentials as told to me by the majority of the lawyers I have lectured to nationally."
 
I no longer heed the advice of 1. I speak to 50,000...literally...and then read court rulings about credentialing a doctor. A case in point is the Daubert standard, which came about in 1994 in Federal Court.

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daubert_standard
 
The Daubert standard is a rule of evidence regarding the admissibility of expert witnessestestimony during United States federal legal proceedings. Pursuant to this standard, a party may raise a Daubert motion, which is a special case of motion in limine raised before or during trial to exclude the presentation of unqualified evidence to the jury.
 
The Daubert standard refers to the definition of expert and admissibility and in a medical-legal case, does the doctor meet that standard? This has been the most significant ruling that every lawyer nationally uses as a guiding rule when determining if the doctor's testimony will be accepted into evidence. If you will not be ahttp://lawyerspiprogram.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_content§ionid=0&task=edit&cid[]=438ccepted as an expert by the courts as deemed by the lawyers, they will not work with you. In fact, many lawyers do not even want your referrals because at the end of the day, they will be stuck with you and your INADMISSABLE opinions. Therefore, credentials are critical, in spite of the single, vociferous lawyer's opinion and his limited experience. 
 
I have made too many mistakes that resulted in losing too many patients for too many years because I accepted 1 lawyers opinion as gospel. It's bad enough I did it...You shouldn't!

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