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.

charter bus accident lawyer

Charter Bus Accident Lawyer in Georgia

Charter bus accidents have been too occurring frequently in Georgia. Victims need a serious charter bus accident lawyer to assist with their injuries. In 2018, a charter bus accident caused serious injuries when a bus containing a group from Gwinnett County overturned on its way to the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. Also in 2018, members of a West Georgia Tech women’s basketball team sustained injuries when their charter bus overturned in Virginia as they drove to a national tournament. Both incidents allegedly involved drivers subjecting the passengers to unnecessary risk and danger.

Charter bus accidents are serious. Passengers place their faith and trust in drivers and bus companies to get them to their location safely. When a company and its drivers are driving erratically, not taking appropriate driver sleep breaks, or driving under the influence, the resulting accidents are devastating. Charter bus companies often do not put seat belts in their buses. This means that nothing keeps the passengers safely in their seats in a rollover accident.

Charter bus accidents require a charter bus accident lawyer who understands the important differences between charter bus accidents and regular car accidents. The courts consider some charter bus companies “common carriers” under the law. “Common carriers” are a special grouping that must obey stricter safety requirements. A charter bus accident lawyer can use the bus company’s failure to follow these requirements to help the injured victims in court. An experienced charter bus accident lawyer can tell you if your bus company qualifies as a common carrier. A charter bus accident lawyer can determine if your bus company followed these stricter requirements.

The attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of R. Michael Coker handle complex and complicated charter bus accident cases. R. Michael Coker understands this complicated area of the law as a charter bus accident lawyer. He has handled some of Georgia’s most high-profile bus accident cases. If you or someone you know has been injured in a charter bus accident, call our law firm for a free consultation today.  You must act quickly to preserve critical evidence in the case. You can protect your case by speaking with a charter bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Suwanee Accident Lawyer

Suwanee Accident Lawyer

The city of Suwanee, Georgia is traveled through by thousands a day. Between Buford Highway and Interstate 85, heavy traffic is expected when going to work early in the morning or going out to dinner on a Friday night. With such a great volume of travelers, accidents ranging from minor to major occur frequently. In 2013, a tractor trailer and a car collided at Satellite Boulevard and Shawnee Industrial Way near McGinnis Ferry Road, leaving two dead and one critically injured.

Our Suwanee accident lawyer has handled many Suwanee personal injury car accident cases. We are prepared to answer any questions you many have regarding your rights and responsibilities after an accident. Since the City of Suwanee is governed by both the Suwanee Police Department and the Gwinnett County Police Department, it is important to know which police jurisdiction applies when handling your Suwanee automobile accident case. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Suwanee, please call our firm for a free case evaluation from an experienced Suwanee accident lawyer. Our accident attorney can help with medical bills, insurance policies and anything else related to the accident expenses. Our Suwanee accident lawyer will help you decided the next steps after a tragic incident.

Suwanee, Georgia is a great city, filled with residents and travelers at all times of the day. Most often, the City of Suwanee is filled with hardworking citizens who obey traffic laws and drive safe. Sometimes, however, drivers are distracted and a serious injury can result. If you are looking for a Suwanee accident lawyer to help you with a Suwanee accident, our firm is always available to give you a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Call today to learn more about our experience helping Suwanee residents in car accidents and injury claims.

R Michael Coker Seminar

R Michael Coker Speaks on Trial Tactics at State Seminar

On March 12, 2015, Attorney R Michael Coker spoke on trial techniques for personal injury lawyers from across the state at the State Bar of Georgia. R Michael Coker shared his personal experience litigating and trying injury cases against insurance companies to a crowd of over eighty trial lawyers in Atlanta. Attorney Coker was the only attorney from Gwinnett County asked to speak at the seminar and was one of the only presenters with an office outside of Atlanta.

At the seminar, R Michael Coker shared trial strategies with the lawyers in attendance to help maximize their client’s recovery. By explaining ways to overcome common defense tactics at trial and how to address juror biases when dealing with a personal injury tort case, R Michael Coker created an open forum for fellow trial lawyers. The goal was for lawyers to share and gain trial skills in an injury case. The seminar was sponsored by the Georgia Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and participants received course credit for attending.

The seminar topic included strategies for admitting medical records and bills, vehicle damage photographs, the client’s testimony, and opening and closing arguments. R Michael Coker explained how attorneys could establish themselves as trial lawyers with insurance companies. Insurance companies know which lawyers are capable of taking a case to trial, and even their pre-suit settlement offers reflect the actual threat they feel from a particular lawyer at trial.

If you, or someone you know, would like more information about the topics covered by R Michael Coker at the seminar, please feel free to contact us directly. We love helping fellow trial attorneys maximize the recovery for their clients, and we would be happy to help in any way that we can. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Rental Car Accident

Rental Car Accident

The rental car industry is a billion dollar industry. Here in Georgia, the new Rental Car Center at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has increased the number of rental cars driven in the City of Atlanta. The Rental Car Center provides rental cars to travelers who come to Atlanta through one of the busiest airports in the world. Many of those travelers that rent a car are using Georgia interstates, meaning those who travel on interstates have a higher chance of being involved in a rental car accident. In either situation, it is important to be knowledgeable of how to handle a rental car accident since theses cases are very different from regular car accidents.

When you are involved in a rental car accident there are some steps that you need to follow. First, call the police so the accident is properly documented. Second, be sure to take pictures of the damage to all vehicles. It is important that there is evidence of the damage for both the insurance companies and the rental car company. Third, gather the other driver’s personal insurance information as well as the rental car company’s insurance information so that you can properly file a claim with both companies. With this information, an attorney can help you find out whether the rental car driver also had extra coverage available to you through their rental car company. Last, contact your insurance carrier to report the accident and setup a claim if necessary.

If you are the driver of a rental car, you should always be familiar with rental car accident coverage on your personal auto insurance policy. Your insurance agent can give this information to you. Rental companies such as Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and Avis offer more coverage at a higher cost to further protect you if you are part of a rental car accident. Be sure to always ask the rental company what coverage applies when you rent the car. Finally, many credit card companies now also offer complimentary rental car insurance through certain cards. Check with your credit card company to see if your card could offer extra coverage if you are involved in a rental car accident.

If you have suffered injuries from a rental car accident where you were not at fault, please call our law firm for a free case evaluation. Rental car cases are more complicated because they include multiple insurance policies. It is important to have a knowledgeable attorney that knows how to best handle these type of cases and will get you every penny you deserve. Failure to properly file with all applicable insurance companies could cause you to miss out on critical insurance money to pay for expensive medical bills. We have successfully handled rental car accident cases and discovered extra insurance coverage for clients. Call our firm today.

Drugged Driving Accidents

Drugged Driving Accidents

We are all too familiar with accidents being caused by drunk driving. Drugged driving accidents, however, are another growing problem. Drugged driving is driving while under the influence of illegal drugs or unhealthy amounts of prescription/over-the-counter drugs. 10.3 million people on the roadways have admitted to driving under the influence of some drug. Back in 2012, a driver in Gwinnett County was driving under the influence of a sedative and caused an accident. Other drivers in the accident suffered serious injuries, and the drugged driver was forced to serve jail time.

Drugs have similar effects as alcohol on driving abilities. Drivers lose their general attention to the roadway and the ability to react quickly. Gwinnett County has many busy roadways. It is important for a driver to be attentive and focused on their commute. Gwinnett County has one of the largest populations in Northeast Georgia, and drivers may have a higher risk of potentially being involved in drugged driving accidents.

Our firm has handled many cases of people seriously injured in drugged driving accidents. If you have been involved in a drugged driving accident, please contact our firm so we can discuss your case and best help you. Too often people do not pursue a claim and no action is taken against the driver. The driver is allowed to continue their reckless behavior without any real consequence. This could potentially endanger other drivers by causing another drugged driving accident.

As a leading personal injury law firm in Gwinnett County, we know the importance of keeping our roadways safe. We want to make sure drivers that cause drugged driving accidents are punished properly – with higher insurance premiums. Since many drugged drivers can escape criminal prosecution by paying a small fine, significant insurance settlements are often the best remedy for stopping the dangerous behavior. Call our firm so we can discuss your claim. We appreciate you doing your part in making roadways in Gwinnett County safer after drugged driving accidents.

drunk driver accident attorney

Drunk Driving Accident Attorney in Gwinnett

Drunk driving is a common phrase that we often hear in the news that causes accidents daily, and as Gwinnett’s drunk driving accident attorney, we see the tragic effects of drunk driving regularly. When a driver is behind the wheel intoxicated they lose their ability to react quickly in a given moment. In 2013, there was a fatal accident in Snellville on HWY 78 caused by a drunk driver. The driver was unable to react quickly and rear-ended the car in front of him causing a domino effect.

Being on the road with a drunk driver is a harsh reality. Every two minutes someone is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Our firm has seen serious, tragic accidents caused by the influence of alcohol, and we have helped families seeking a drunk driving accident attorney. When an accident is caused by a driver under the influence, it is helpful to hire an attorney who will not only get you the compensation you deserve, but will fight for the driver to be punished for their choices. As Gwinnett’s drunk driving accident attorney, we believe in doing everything possible to keep the roadways safe for our families.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, please contact Gwinnett’s drunk driving accident attorney today so that we can help you in your claim. By hiring a drunk driving accident attorney and taking action against the driver and their insurance company, you may just be the action that gets the drunk driver off the road and saves someone’s life.

Remember, our firm always offers a free consultation. We can discuss your case and help guide you in the best direction to meet your needs. If you are looking for a drunk driving accident attorney, we have settled many cases involving drunk drivers and have the knowledge and ability to best handle this type of case.

Truck Insurance Settlements

Truck Accident Settlements: $100,000.00 in Gwinnett Case

This week, Attorney R. Michael Coker settled a minor truck accident case for $100,000.00. Although the vehicle sustained only moderate damage and the client’s injuries required neither hospitalization or a surgery, Attorney Coker was able to secure a $100,000.00 settlement for his client. Before the client hired our firm, the trucking company offered the client less than $8,000 (or less than 8% of the final settlement amount) and even instructed the client not to get an attorney!

The story is a common one. Trucking insurance companies offer a quick settlement to unknowing victims for pennies on the dollar in hopes that the person will forever waive their right to a fair settlement amount. Some tractor-trailer insurance companies even tell their victims not to call a lawyer. If this has happened to you, this is a huge red flag.

Truck accident cases are common in Gwinnett County, most often on Interstate 85. Truck drivers are often distracted by radios, cellphones, music players, and even other vehicles. Sadly, when a distracted truck driver causes an accident, the damage to other vehicles involved is almost always extensive and people often need hospital treatment, surgeries, and extensive medical care. The injured person should not suffer financial ruin due to a trucking company’s negligence or intentional acts.

A vast knowledge of trucking laws and regulations is necessary to maximize truck accident settlements. That is why having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney is so important. These are necessary documents to see and analyze for before settling a truck accident case:

1. The truck driver’s driving history;
2. The trailer’s weight and whether it exceeded the most poundage;
3. The driver’s log book to see if the driver was on the road for more hours per day than permitted by law;
4. The sleeping habits of the driver to learn if they were proper;
5. The driver’s employment history to see if a history of drug or alcohol abuse;
6. The trucking company’s history of accidents, road violations, and load capacity;
7. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Violations as shown in their online database;
8. The truck’s lighting and reflector strips to see if they met minimum requirements;
9. Past truck accident settlements for the truck driver, trucking company, or trucking insurance company;
10. Other serious violations or problems.

To maximize truck accident settlements, you need an attorney who understands these key points and can find serious federal law violations. Multiple clients have called our office after first trying to negotiate their own truck accident case. Studies show that when a client hires a lawyer, truck accident settlements increase dramatically. R. Michael Coker is a lawyer with vast experience handling truck accident settlements. If we can help you check your truck accident settlement, then please send us a message or give us a call. We are happy to give you a free consultation and explain how we do not collect any attorneys’ fees unless we win for all truck accident cases. Call us today as time is precious when preserving evidence in truck accident cases.

Insurance Diminished Value

Georgia Diminished Value Law: The Insurance Company’s Dirty Little Secret

Nothing is more irritating after an accident than getting your car fixed. Calling to set up the claim, taking your car to collision centers for estimates, setting up a rental car — the list goes on and on.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the insurance company is intentionally “keeping quiet” on extra money you are entitled to receive under Georgia diminished value law. Georgians leave millions of dollars of their money in the pockets of insurance companies every year.

“Diminished Value” is the most misunderstood concept in insurance law. Diminished Value is compensation after a car accident for the anticipated future loss that will occur when the vehicle owner tries to re-sell the vehicle. To better understand this legal concept under Georgia diminished value law, let me give you an example:

Bob gets rear-ended by Jan, and Jan’s insurance company pays for the repairs to Bob’s vehicle. Bob’s vehicle looks like new, after the frame damage is hammered back out. Two years later, Bob takes his car to CarMartWorld to sell. CarMartWorld pulls the car history and sees his vehicle has been in a bad accident. They offer Bob $10,000 for the vehicle even though the car’s normal value is $12,000.

As you can see, Bob will lose $2,000 because of the accident caused by Jan. Under Georgia diminished value law, Jan’s insurance company is responsible for paying Bob the $2,000 diminished value as part of the property damage settlement.

Here is the kicker: Most insurance companies will not offer to pay you diminished value unless you ask for it, and 99% of all Georgians involved in a car accident don’t know to ask. The higher the cost of repairing your vehicle, the more important it is that you to ask for compensation for diminished value. Remember never to sign a property damage release until you receive your diminished value payment.

First, try to find the re-sale value of your car and compare it to cars for sale online that have been in an accident. Then ask the insurance adjuster to pay you the difference. Generally, the insurance adjuster will counter with their own amount — ask how they arrived at the number. Most often they will tell you they arrived at the number by a “formula,” but this “formula” is not necessarily the final authority. Keep negotiating until you come to an amount you feel good accepting.

If you still cannot recover what you feel you deserve, talk to a lawyer or file a lawsuit in small claims court. A lawyer can be particularly helpful if the insurance company is acting in bad faith — as the court can force the insurance company to pay a serious penalty if they are intentionally not paying a valid claim.

Best of luck in your negotiations, and always get all the compensation you deserve under Georgia diminished value law.  If you have any questions, we are always here to help.