I hurt my neck and back in a Wilmington automobile accident last year. If I sue the person at fault, will my settlement or damages cover my visits to a chiropractor?
When a jury decides the damages you receive for a personal injury case, they will consider the amounts your attorney requests for the various categories of losses you have suffered: medical bills, permanent disability, lost income from work, emotional suffering, and so on. Those same categories would be used in negotiations between your lawyer and the attorney for the insurance company to try to agree on a settlement amount and avoid a trial.
Regardless of whether you receive compensation from a jury verdict or a settlement, however, you are under no obligation to spend the money in any specific way. You would probably do well to consider your attorney’s analysis of your future needs, however. If your North Carolina personal injury lawyer has persuaded the jury that you will need a wheelchair access ramp built for your home, you definitely need to consider spending some of your award to have a ramp constructed.
We know several of our former clients who decided to treat their injury settlements as some sort of windfall. They spent a significant part of the money on a vacation, or on a home entertainment system, or as a down payment on a new car. This almost always turns out to be a shortsighted approach. Remember, any compensation you receive is meant to cover your legitimate injury-related costs, including future expenses. If you spend a hefty chunk of that sum on luxuries, you are likely not to have the money you require for foreseeable future needs.
Spending money on health care, though, is a legitimate type of spending. If you find that chiropractic adjustments give you relief from the pain of your neck or back injury, then by all means you should continue that therapy.
Can chiropractic care undermine your legal case?
Relying heavily on chiropractic treatments before your case goes to trial may put your legal case at risk. Chiropractic care grew out of unconventional medical theories at the end of the 19th century. Even today, some practitioners are scornful of standard medical care. Critics have labeled chiropractic medicine a fringe belief and a pseudoscience. In a jury trial, the opposing attorney could make two strong arguments against your case based on your reliance on chiropractic care:
- Because you’re rejecting the advantages of conventional medicine in favor of a fringe belief system, you really aren’t concerned about taking care of your health needs—or not concerned about “health” in the same way the jury members understand the term. If you’re not going to take care of yourself, you don’t really deserve a damage award.
- Because chiropractic adjustments cost so much less than conventional health care, even if the jury decides you deserve an award, it can be a small one to cover your modest future chiropractic therapy.
How your attorney can get you the maximum settlement available
Listen carefully to the advice your personal injury attorney gives you. Almost all North Carolina injury lawyers will want your medical condition to be evaluated and monitored by a conventional physician—ideally, one with extensive experience in neck and spine injury cases. Your attorney will expect you to follow that doctor’s recommendations at least until the trial is concluded. Those recommendations will usually include conventional physical therapy, although some medical doctors will also permit chiropractic adjustments in addition.
If you need an attorney you can trust to deal with your case in a straightforward manner, call 877-593-4233 to connect with the traffic injury lawyers at Speaks Law Firm. We don’t try to confuse you with legal jargon or keep you in the dark about our strategy. We’ll tell you the truth, even if that means explaining why you shouldn’t rely on your favorite chiropractor.
Give us a call today. In return for your inquiry, we will send you a FREE copy of our book, The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, and we can schedule you for a FREE, confidential consultation about your case.