Chiropractor Pitfalls

Five Ways Chiropractors Ruin Their Patients’ Personal Injury Cases

Chiropractic bills and records have always been under assault by the insurance company, but the process is getting much worse. With more reliance on computer models and programs that scan medical bills and records, insurance companies are using chiropractors to attack their patients’ personal injury claims without them even realizing it. Mistakes or problems in the chiropractic records have become a primary attack on plaintiffs during settlement negotiations and at trial.  The following is a list of the most common attacks we see as it pertains to chiropractic medical and billing records:

1. Typographical Errors

I am routinely shocked at the number of mistakes in medical records from hospitals, large orthopedic offices, and even chiropractic offices.  These often small mistakes have a huge effect on the patient’s personal injury claim because the insurance company and their lawyers are going to present those mistakes as absolute fact to a jury.  The patient might testify that he or she has never had another car accident, but if the records notate that the patient had an accident in April of 2019, instead of the correct May of 2019, then the insurance company is going to present the patient’s failure to disclose her “April accident” as fact to the jury.  The chiropractor can save a patient’s case by taking an extra minute to ensure that the patient’s history, past treatment, and dates are correct.

2. Copy and Paste Records

Insurance companies love attacking chiropractors and medical providers who copy and paste the same History, Examination, Assessment, and Plan sections into the records for each date of service.  Insurance company lawyers have started pointing out to jurors how these sections are often repeated without any notated change in the patient’s condition.  Insurance lawyers often insinuate that the chiropractor is “lazy” or is “money-hungry” and cares more about their bill than patient care through their “form records.”  Assuming that the patient is receiving some benefit from the treatment plan, the medical records should reflect the improvements in the client’s condition throughout the course of that treatment.

3. Pain Scale Number Discrepancies

I believe that chiropractors often fail to properly explain the pain scale to their patients.  For example, a patient who is able to walk, talk, and carry on a conversation should never have their pain listed as a “10 out of 10” on the pain scale.  For example, a chiropractor can help the patient provide a correct response by explaining to a patient that a “10 out of 10” on the pain scale is equal to childbirth.  Childbirth, for example, is a good benchmark that most people can understand when rating their pain.  Similarly, a patient’s pain should not be a “2” then increase on the next visit to a level “8,” as such an increase signals to the insurance company that the patient likely suffered a new injury.

4. The Word “Chronic”

Using the word “chronic” in any context is damaging for a patient’s personal injury claim.  Insurance companies employ computer programs that scan thousands of pages of medical records in search of buzz word. One such word is “chronic.”  “Chronic,” when used in medical records, is argued by insurance lawyers to mean “pre-existing” even if it is meant to mean “chronic pain since the accident.”  “Chronic” and “pre-existing” have become synonyms in the legal industry.  Unless you are intending to describe your patient’s condition as pre-existing the accident, the word “chronic” should be avoided if at all possible.

5. Billing Errors

Lastly, I understand that how certain procedures or treatments are coded can greatly affect the compensation rates for chiropractors, but sometimes, the way that the treatments are coded can have a large effect on a patient’s injury claim.  For example, assume you had a patient who has been treating with your office for back pain before a collision, but no neck pain.  Then, that patient gets in a car accident and has new neck pain complaints.  The insurance company is likely going to request all prior records for the patient.  If the prior billing codes show “manipulation – all regions of spine,” then that client now faces the argument her neck pain predated the collision.  Similarly, after a collision, coding your bills as “manipulation of all regions of the spine” when the patient has only neck pain complaints can jeopardize the compensation for your full bill.  Coding procedures properly can protect your patients ‘ injury claims and your bill.

 

We see most often those five pitfalls where chiropractors can have a large effect on patients’ personal injury claims.  By making these minor adjustments and putting safeguards in place to ensure that the records and bills are both accurate and correct, you can help your patient receive all the compensation that they are justified to received.

If you have any questions about your bills and records, or how we could help one of your patients, please do not hesitate to call at 678-935-6000.  We are happy to provide any guidance or suggestions.

Gwinnett Accident Repoert

Gwinnett Accident Reports

The first step after a Gwinnett County accident is to get a copy of your Gwinnett County Motor Vehicle Accident Report. Gwinnett is actually one of the most efficient counties when it comes to obtaining reports as many of the Gwinnett accident reports are available online. Generally, Gwinnett accident reports take up to four days to complete. You can check the status of your report by calling the police department that responded to your accident (contact numbers below) or by logging into Buycrash.com.

Individuals involved in car accidents in Gwinnett County can get a copy of their accident report one of three ways:

(1) Online: – Gwinnett makes almost all of their Gwinnett accident reports available online at buycrash.com. Buycrash is an online service that allows you to print your accident report from the internet. Purchasing Gwinnett accident reports on Buycrash are generally more expensive than picking up Gwinnett accident reports in person [$11.00 Buycrash fee for Gwinnett Police Department reports as of the date of this article, less for some city police department reports].

Please note that to buy your report on buycrash.com you will need the following (a) the date of the accident, (b) the police department that responded to the accident scene [i.e. Gwinnett County, Duluth, Lawrenceville, etc], and (c) ONE of the following: driver’s last name, accident report number, or vehicle VIN number. For security purposes, Buycrash will not let you get the report without all the needed information.

(2) In Person Pick-Up: The accident report cost and pick-up site are going to depend on the police department that responded to your collision. City and county departments have different precincts and headquarters for picking up Gwinnett accident reports:

Please note that as of the date of this article, the information below was. Prefect to the best of knowledge and we make no warranty or claim as to the accuracy of any of the information contained therein. Please call and independently verify the correct cost, availability date, and pick up place for your report.

Gwinnett County Police Department Reports – Gwinnett accident reports are available at the Gwinnett County Police Headquarters, 770 Hi Hope Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30044. As of the date of this article, the charge for accident report pick ups are $5.00 CASH ONLY, and often the headquarters will not break a bill larger than $10.00. Please call (770) 513-5000 in advance to confirm price and availability.

Auburn Police Department Accident Reports – Call (770) 513-8657 to receive your accident report cost and availability date. Prices vary by pages copied. As of the date of this article, The Auburn Police Department accepts check, cash, or money order. Pick up at 1369 Fourth Ave., Auburn, GA 30011.

Braselton Police Department Accident Reports – As of the date of this article, people can pick-up their accident reports at 5040 Georgia 53, Braselton, GA 30517. Call (706) 658-2852 x1101 before arriving to confirm cost and availability of report.

Duluth Police Department Accident Reports – As of the date of this article, accident reports are $5.00 (sometimes free for involved party) and are ready for pick-up after 5-10 days at 3276 Buford Highway, Duluth, GA 30096. Call (770) 623-2771 to check the status of your report, availability and cost.

Lawrenceville Police Department Accident Reports – Call (770) 962-4173 to check the status of your report, cost, and pick-up site. As of the date of this article, accident reports are $5.00 (sometimes free for involved party) and can be picked up at 300 Jackson Street, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

Lilburn Police Department Accident Reports – As of the date of this article, accident reports are $5.00 and can be picked up at 76 Main Street, Lilburn, GA 30047. Confirm cost, pick-up site, and availability by calling 770-638-2193.

Loganville Police Department Accident Reports – As of the date of this article, accident reports take 3 to 5 business days to complete, cost $3.00, and can be picked up at 605 Tom Brewer Road, Loganville, GA 30052. Call (770) 466-8087 before arriving to make sure of cost, and availability of report.

Norcross Police Department Accident Reports – As of the date of this article, accident reports are generally available within 3-5 business days and can be picked up at 65 Lawrenceville Street, Norcross, GA 30071. Call (770) 448-2111 to check the status of your report, availability, and cost.

Snellville Police Department Accident Reports – To confirm status, cost, and pick-up site, call (770) 985-3555. Accident reports cost $5.00 [Cash, Visa or Mastercard] and can be picked up at 2315 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, GA 30078 as of the date of this article.

Suwanee Police Department Accident Reports – Call (770) 945-8995 to check the status of your report, cost, and pick-up place. As of the date of this article, accident reports are $3.00 and can be picked up at 373 Buford Highway, Suwanee, GA 30024.

(3) U.S. Mail – If you want to receive your Gwinnett accident reports via the U.S. Mail, you may do so by calling (770) 513-5000 and obtaining your cost. Then you can mail your cashier’s check payment and a self-addressed stamped envelope to Gwinnett County Police Department, Attn: Records, P.O. Box 602, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 with your accident report case number.

Note: This only applies to reports taken by the Gwinnett County Police Department. Reports taken by the City Police Departments have different request rules for U.S. Mail delivery, and the accident report cost varies by city. Call your city police department ahead of mailing to confirm address, cost, and payment method before mailing.