While a person involved in a car accident may not have any resulting fractures or visible bruises, neck and back pain caused by cervical acceleration/deceleration (“CAD”), also known as whiplash, can be quite severe. These soft tissue injuries may require treatment from a competent health care provider.
For example, most chiropractors will evaluate the injured person and schedule a treatment plan to stabilize the victim’s neck and back. Depending on the severity of the injury, the treatment plan may call for weekly, biweekly, or even daily treatments for a specified number of weeks. Many accident victims are unaware that after completing treatment, the insurance company responsible to pay for the treatment, often refuses to pay for all of the visits, alleging the chiropractor’s treatment was excessive. Often, this results in a lengthy struggle between patients, insurance companies, and chiropractors. Chiropractors are sometimes asked to reduce their bill, while patients are commonly asked to pay the difference between the insurance company’s offer and the actual bill. All the while, the insurance company awaits a decision from the patient and the chiropractor as to how its low-ball offer will be accepted.
A patient confronted with this unexpected situation would likely argue that he simply followed the chiropractor’s treatment plan. After all, the chiropractor made the initial diagnosis and performed the treatment, therefore, he is in a better position than the insurance company to know the amount of treatment the patient needed. While such an argument is persuasive, it is certainly not conclusive. Insurance companies argue that the objective evidence indicates that treatment should have concluded weeks earlier. Help from an experienced attorney can be the difference between receiving a check for your injuries and writing a check despite your injuries.
One method attorneys use to fight insurance companies in these situations is to use published chiropractic guidelines that specify the amount of treatment a patient needs depending on the documented objective findings. This is more than a mere persuasive argument, but a set of accepted standards that can rebut an insurance company’s claim that the patient did not need as much treatment as received.
One such set of chiropractic guidelines are the Croft Guidelines, published in 1993 by Dr. Arthur Croft, a world renowned chiropractor and speaker for the Spine Research Institute of San Diego. Treatment paradigm for cervical acceleration/deceleration injuries (whiplash). ACA J Chiro 1993; 30(1):41-45. The Croft Guidelines instruct the chiropractor to initially diagnose the severity of the injury on a scale of Grade I to Grade IV. Then, based on the initial diagnosis, establish a treatment plan in number of weeks for treatment and number of treatments per week. The Croft Guidelines also provide common factors that could potentially complicate CAD trauma management. In applying these Croft Guidelines, a knowledgeable attorney can counter an insurance company’s attempt to argue excessive treatment because the treatment provided falls within the well established, widely accepted guidelines. In fact, the Arizona Chiropractic Society has officially endorsed the Croft Guidelines.
This is just one of many nuances of personal injury law. Personal injury attorneys at Rowley Chapman Barney & Buntrock, Ltd. are prepared to aggressively fight for you to ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries. If you were injured in an accident, call us at (480) 833-1113.
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