The Most Common Causes of Chiropractic Malpractice Claims

Malpractice claims are, unfortunately, part of the healthcare industry. Let’s look at the most common causes of chiropractic malpractice claims so chiropractors can learn how to avoid them and provide top-notch care to their patients.

The Elements of Medical Malpractice

Before we explore the most common types of negligence claims against chiropractors, it’s worth reviewing the elements that every malpractice suit needs in order to succeed in court. First, there needs to be a clear duty of care owed to the patient—whether the chiropractor has treated the patient.

Next, there must be a proven dereliction of duty—often the core of malpractice suits; this is where the patient proves their healthcare provider failed, neglected, or harmed them in their treatment. The plaintiff must prove they’ve suffered an injury from this breach of duty and that this injury causes them economic or noneconomic losses (damages). Without these core elements, a plaintiff would lose their negligence case against a chiropractor.

Common Types of Malpractice Suits Against Chiropractors

While a chiropractic malpractice claim can take many forms, the most common causes are typically botched spinal manipulation, a failure by the chiropractor to diagnose, or a lack of informed consent from the patient.

Harm to the Patient From Incorrect Spinal Manipulation

While certified chiropractors are excellent and exceedingly careful at their jobs, accidents and errors occur. When dealing with spinal manipulation, the margin for error is slim. Even the slightest incorrect adjustment could significantly harm the patient. Injuries from botched spinal adjustments include nerve damage, herniated discs, broken ribs, or even strokes.

Failure To Diagnose

Part of the duty owed to the patient by the healthcare provider (chiropractor) is to diagnose medical conditions that require immediate care. While chiropractors don’t have the same medical training as physicians, they can still diagnose conditions in patients who have a more severe condition that’s outside of their skills and recommend they see a specialist.

If a chiropractor believes their patient has a more serious condition outside their expertise in spinal manipulation, they should recommend their patient see a physician or professional with sufficient diagnosis equipment.

Lack of Informed Consent

Informed consent is a critical factor in many chiropractic malpractice cases. Informed consent means the patient is completely clear about the procedure they’re about to undergo and the risks involved.

The chiropractor must explain the risks of spinal manipulation. If something goes wrong, the patient can claim they weren’t duly informed of the risks and sue the chiropractor for withholding critical information for informed consent.

Stay Protected With Baxter & Associates

Chiropractors are certainly not immune to malpractice claims, and Baxter & Associates can ensure you’re protected against negligence claims. We will connect you with malpractice insurance providers and even provide a chiropractic malpractice insurance quote online in minutes. Contact our staff if you’d like to learn more about our services for chiropractors today!