If you’ve been injured at the hands of a chiropractor, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit against the chiropractor. However, malpractice at the hands of a chiropractor is slightly different than malpractice at the hands of a primary care physician, surgeon, or doctor, for example. Learn more about medical malpractice and chiropractors in our blog.
Medical Malpractice and Chiropractors
Medical malpractice cases against chiropractors are not as common as those against medical doctors. The main reason for this is that injuries caused by a chiropractor’s negligence are (a) usually not serious enough to warrant a medical malpractice suit, and (b) can be difficult to prove, considering they are frequently an exacerbation of a preexisting condition.
Regardless, chiropractor negligence resulting in serious injury can be the basis for a medical malpractice suit. In terms of negligence, chiropractors are not held to the standard of care to which medical doctors are held. A chiropractor is expected to do what another reasonable chiropractor would have done in the same situation.
Chiropractors are usually negligent in one of the following two ways:
- Treatment results in harm to the patient.
- The chiropractor fails to diagnose a condition that needs immediate attention.
Negligent treatment usually occurs during an adjustment, which makes an existing injury worse or creates a new injury. More serious injuries include nerve damage, herniated discs, or neck injuries. Neck injuries can be particularly dangerous. This is because when the chiropractor is working on a patient’s neck, he or she can inadvertently block or rupture arteries that connect to the brain, such as the vertebral artery. This can result in a stroke.
The other type of negligence, failure to diagnose, may occur as a chiropractors lack of medical training. Chiropractors may be knowledgeable about the body, but they don’t have the same level of training as a medical doctor, for example. As a result, they may not be able to diagnose medical conditions that a medical doctor would be able to diagnose. If this results in serious injury, it could constitute grounds for a medical malpractice case.