Chiropractic medicine has been a popular form of medical treatment in the United States. The philosophy behind the practice is the belief that the body is a self-correcting organism that periodically needs proper re-alignment of the spine. According to chiropractors, problems with alignment happen with modern lifestyles that encourage improper posture when sitting, working, or moving. Alignment issues can also occur through traumatic events to the body such as car accidents, slip and falls, and workplace injuries. Chiropractors believe that they remove the barriers the body has to healing on its own.
Chiropractors must be licensed in their state of practice. In Illinois, chiropractors are covered under the Medical Practice Act, soon to be revised substantially in December 2014. This Act covers the procedures for the education and licensing of medical professionals. As a result, chiropractic medicine is considered a legitimate medical practice in Illinois. Because of this, chiropractors are also required to carry insurance, the same way as a physician or other medical professional. When a problem occurs, it is expected that insurance company will defend the insured medical professional in such actions.
Malpractice involving chiropractors typically revolves around negligence. Rarely will an injured party claim that the injury experienced was the result of intentional misconduct. As with any professions, chiropractors have a standard of care to which they are expected to adhere. If a chiropractor falls below that standard, a court may find them to be negligent. In many instances, the negligence is subtle and an ultimate finding may depend on factors such as region, training methods, and local practices. As with other medical professionals, the expert testimony of other chiropractors may be necessary in the final disposition of the case. In the past, it was difficult to find chiropractors who would testify against fellow professionals. However as the expert witness business evolved to be more profitable for professionals, a variety of medical professionals are more willing to testify in medical malpractice cases.
Another major concern is that chiropractors may not sufficiently take a patient’s medical history before performing adjustments. There have been many changes among the profession to account for this, but the concern is still there since many chiropractors do not have the tools and training to assess a patient’s medical condition and in many times can only go by what the patient reports.
In recent cases, attorneys have begun to notice a possible link between certain adjustments by chiropractors and subsequent strokes suffered by patients. What caused the slow development in this area is the fact that at times the resulting injury can be as long as two or three weeks from the adjustment session. The adjustment, however, was linked to causing dissection of arteries that slowly began to leak.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you were injured in an accident involving a chiropractor please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.