San Antonio Chiropractor Malpractice Lawyers
Many individuals seek chiropractic treatment for neck and back pain to avoid taking painkillers and undergoing surgical procedures. Millions of Americans visit chiropractors every year, so what’s the worry? Like all medical doctors, chiropractors can also make mistakes when providing treatment causing severe injuries to their patients. A chiropractor’s negligence can even lead to disabilities and strokes.
The San Antonio chiropractor malpractice attorneys at Janicek Law have represented clients in a variety of medical malpractice claims and are ready to represent you. Below, our attorneys will explain how chiropractors can act negligently and injure their patients, as well as what a chiropractor’s malpractice lawsuit may entail. To discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, call 210-366-4949 today.
What is a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional that treats patients’ neuromusculoskeletal system, which is made of bones, muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. Chiropractors use their hands and other instruments to manipulate joints in the body to relieve pain as well as improve alignment and overall body functions. The main type of treatment that chiropractors provide is known as spinal manipulation or chiropractic manipulation. Since chiropractors are unable to prescribe medications or conduct surgical procedures like medical doctors, many patients seek chiropractic treatment since it’s a non-invasive alternative to pain relief and other body ailments.
When you visit a chiropractor, they will perform an exam similar to what a medical doctor would. They will examine the patient by looking at the positioning of their spine and reflexes. They may perform additional tests and take X-rays to aid in the diagnosis. Once the chiropractor has determined the source of the patient’s pain or ailments, they will come up with a treatment plan. In addition to chiropractic manipulation, they may suggest relaxation techniques, hot and cold treatments, weight-loss counseling, and exercise. In some cases, a chiropractor may recommend shoe inserts or braces.
Common Reasons Why People Go To the Chiropractor
Chiropractic adjustments can help individuals suffering from pain caused by a car accident or other traumatic accident. Injuries following car accidents can often stay with a person for years after the initial event, making it difficult to sleep and perform everyday tasks.
People also seek chiropractic treatment when they’re suffering from muscle and joint pain but want to avoid pain medications or surgery. Chiropractors will use a combination of massages and stretches to realign their patient’s spine and improve their overall neuromusculoskeletal health.
People often seek chiropractic treatment for the following:
Common Chiropractic Injuries
While chiropractic treatments can offer pain relief for many patients, there are certain risks to having your spine and joints adjusted. The areas that chiropractors work with are extremely fragile, like vertebrae and other areas of the spinal column. If your chiropractor makes one wrong adjustment, the patient could suffer from serious injuries. Although serious injuries resulting from spinal adjustments are rare, they can happen and it’s important for patients to know the risks.
All medical treatments come with risks that patients need to be prepared for, but what you can’t prepare for is when that risk is negligence on behalf of a medical professional. When health care providers act negligently, they can cause serious and irreparable harm to their patients. All medical professionals, even chiropractors, can commit medical malpractice.
Chiropractic malpractice can lead to the following types of injuries:
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Injuries to the neck
- Herniated discs
- Intense, constant headaches
- Rib fractures
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Tingling and numbness in the extremities
- Worse pain and symptoms associated with an existing injury
- Bowel and bladder problems
You seek chiropractic treatment to relieve pain and other ailments, but unfortunately, when these medical professionals act negligently, you can be left with worse pain than you initially sought treatment for.
Vertebral Artery Dissection and Stroke
One of the more serious injuries caused by chiropractic negligence is vertebral artery dissection (VAD). The vertebral arteries are located in the neck and supply blood to the brain and spine. If a chiropractor pops a patient’s neck too hard during spinal manipulation, the vertebral arteries can tear, leading to blood loss to the brain. When this happens, it’s considered a chiropractic-induced stroke. One type of stroke caused by vertebral artery dissection is a hemorrhagic stroke which occurs when an artery bursts or leaks into the brain. If a blood clot forms from the torn artery, the clot can obstruct an artery in the brain which can cause an ischemic stroke.
Strokes caused by chiropractic malpractice are extremely uncommon, occurring once in every 20,000 manipulations, according to a 2015 study. However, a chiropractic malpractice incident made national news in 2022 with a Georgia woman suffering from a chiropractic-induced stroke caused by torn arteries in the neck. The woman was left partially paralyzed after the stroke with a traumatic brain injury.
While chiropractic-induced strokes are the worst-case scenario, they can happen and change a person’s life forever. A patient suffering a stroke caused by chiropractic malpractice can be left with life-altering disabilities and never-ending medical expenses. If you believe your stroke was caused by negligence, you need an experienced San Antonio chiropractic malpractice lawyer from Janicek Law by your side.
How Often Do Chiropractic Injuries Occur in the U.S.?
According to the American Chiropractic Association, over 35 million Americans are treated by chiropractors every year. According to a study conducted in 2016, the chances of being injured by negligent chiropractic adjustments is 40 injuries out of every 100,000 patients.
Even after extensive research, there is still debate over how effective chiropractic manipulation is. Around 50% of patients have experienced pain and other lasting effects following their chiropractic treatments. These injuries are often minor and don’t lead to any legal action against the chiropractor. When the damages caused by spinal manipulation are severe enough, you have the right to pursue a chiropractor malpractice claim.
Can You Sue a Chiropractor?
Negligent manipulation that leads to severe injuries and financial loss can be pursued with a chiropractic malpractice lawsuit. All medical doctors, including the chiropractic profession, are required to carry medical malpractice insurance. Any time a medical doctor or chiropractor acts negligently, causing injuries to their patients can potentially face a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you believe that your injuries were caused by chiropractor negligence, but aren’t sure what steps to take, call the medical malpractice attorneys at Janicek Law.
Proving Chiropractic Negligence
All medical doctors are required to provide the best medical treatment for their patients, also known as the medical standard of care. When a medical doctor does not offer the standard of care for their patient because of negligent acts, like misdiagnosis or delayed surgery, they’ve committed medical malpractice.
Even chiropractors are held to this same medical standard of care. Chiropractic malpractice occurs when a chiropractor fails to provide the medical standard of care. When you’ve been injured due to negligence, your medical malpractice attorney will work to prove the 4 D’s of negligence, which is critical to any medical malpractice lawsuit.
- Duty of Care: All medical professionals, including chiropractors, are required to provide a standard duty of care. Every chiropractor is responsible for providing the same treatment to their patients that any other competent chiropractor would provide.
- Deviation from Duty occurs when a chiropractor fails to provide the standard of care. This can happen due to lack of informed consent, ignoring a patient’s medical issue that can put them at an increased risk of injury, or any other negligent action.
- Direct Cause: Your chiropractor malpractice attorney will work to show that your injuries directly relate to the negligent care you received.
- Damages: Finally, all successful chiropractic malpractice cases must prove that the injuries led to financial losses or damages. Your attorney may use your medical bills showing treatments and costs, lost wages due to being unable to work, and more.
In order to prove medical negligence, our San Antonio personal injury attorneys will gather evidence and work with expert witnesses in the same field as the medical doctor accused of malpractice. In chiropractor malpractice, your attorney from Janicek Law will work with an expert chiropractor to determine if the accused, in fact, committed malpractice. The expert chiropractor witness will evaluate the patient’s medical records in order to show that the accused committed the four elements of negligence.
The attorneys at Janicek Law have experience handling all types of medical malpractice cases, even those regarding chiropractic care. When you choose our law firm to handle your chiropractor malpractice case, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to prove negligence and recover compensation for your injuries.
Damages for Chiropractor Malpractice
The experienced legal team at Janicek Law have recovered the following damages for their clients involved in chiropractic malpractice lawsuits:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- In the cases of wrongful death, funeral and burial expenses
What Are My Chances of Winning a Chiropractic Malpractice Lawsuit?
Medical malpractice cases are extremely challenging to prove. A 2021 study found that out of 48 chiropractor malpractice cases, the chiropractor won 70% of their cases. Victims of negligent manipulation win only 20% of their chiropractic lawsuits.
If you were injured by chiropractor negligence, don’t avoid a lawsuit based on those statistics. The medical malpractice attorneys at Janicek Law will work diligently to hold the chiropractor responsible for their actions and to recover compensation for your injuries.
Average Chiropractor Malpractice Settlement Amount
In the 2021 study mentioned above, victims of chiropractic malpractice were able to recover an average compensation amount of $697,000 from their lawsuits. Other chiropractor malpractice lawsuits averaged a settlement value of $595,000.
Every chiropractic malpractice lawsuit is different and depends on factors like the severity of the victim’s injuries, amount of financial losses, permanent disability, and more. Your medical malpractice attorney from Janicek Law will work with an experienced chiropractor to review your case and determine how much compensation you are entitled to.