It’s football season again and which teams will make it all the way to the final game depends on many factors. Be assured though that the two top teams will have one thing in common: Teamwork. To excel at the highest level in sports or business requires teamwork. You might be asking what this has to do with personal injury and if you allow me to make this football analogy I think you will agree it has everything to do with successful personal injury practice.
Like an NFL team that desires to make it to the big bowl game, a personal injury client/patient also is in search of a successful outcome. In each case, a winning, cohesive team must be selected and work together to achieve this goal.
The Personal Injury Team
As in any team there is a hierarchy; no single position is necessarily more important than the other as they are each unique and provide special skills to be used by the entire team to win. Each position will now be outlined and explained.
The Team Owner
This is the client/patient. The only reason the team exists is because the “owner” has assembled it. Like an NFL owner, they desire to win, they need to win, but they do not necessarily have the skills or expertise to get the job done, therefore they hire the rest of the team to carry out the game plan.
This would be the plaintiff’s lawyer. The coach has a broad-view of the game plan. He consults with the owner and knows their wishes and needs and then is tasked with carrying out the strategy. The coach knows all the rules, he has studied the opposing side, but before he can implement a game plan, he must know the situation on the ground so to speak. He needs a quarterback.
The personal injury specialist chiropractor is the QB. I know right there I may lose a few of you, but hear me out to see how this team, which may be different than what you’re used to, is a very effective game winner. The QB takes an assessment of the field and players, in this case they do an overall assessment of the injured party. They then relay that info to the coach with a list of possible options. The reason the chiro is best suited as the QB is because he is generally the every day primary treator.
He is intimately involved with the patient and because he is specially trained in personal injury he speaks both medical and legal language and can interpret between the two disciplines. He also is more accessible and willing to stand in the pocket in the face of the defense. And as you will see, unlike in the NFL where the QB is the star and commands a huge salary, the chiro is content to manage the team at a modest cost. Different specialty players on the team are then brought into the game depending on what the state of play is.
This is where specialists such as neurologists, neurosurgeons, MRI centers, neuropsychologists, orthopedists, pain management and others add to the team. Each is unique and is used when medically necessary to provide the owner/patient with specialized care. One or more specialists may be used on any given case tailor made for the patient’s needs. But as a quarterback can not play alone, neither does the chiropractor, therefore each case will involve at least one other special teams player to ensure victory.
The special teams players then report to the QB who then assembles all the data from the special teams players and presents it to the Coach with an analysis. This game plan is a proven winner. It takes no more effort for the patient or the lawyer, it just takes an open mind to trying a different playing style.
- Which game plan would you rather use?
Old style where the lawyer does all the work, talks to specialists who really don’t like to be bothered, pays for all the records and has to try to assemble them and make sense of them, discovers 4-6 months into the case that it’s a minor injury with no impairment, then has to worry that if it is a case where a trial is needed, the records are not admissible and/or the specialist will demand several thousands of dollars to appear making it financially infeasible, so you must accept a lower offer.
New style where the specially trained chiropractor provides an overall assessment and daily treatment, determines early on if the case is limited and requires little of your time or if it involves a more serious (compensable) injury such as a brain injury, nerve injury, disc herniation, torn ligaments or permanent impairment and clinically correlates them to the causal accident, refers to specialists and diagnostics as needed and as appropriate for the particular case, gathers the reports and translates them for the lawyer, provides a final summary of all the medical findings in one report to be annotated by specialty reports, provides precise rebuttals to defense claims adjusters and experts, and provides expert witness testimony just as effective as a specialist for hundreds of dollars rather than thousands.
I think you will agree that this new style of play has many advantages, the least of which is less effort on the part of the lawyer coach. Just like football has evolved over time, so has personal injury. It’s time to modernize your approach. It’s time to work together as a team to win the big game.
About the Author, Barry Marks, DC
Dr. Marks is an Orange County chiropractor in practice since 1986. He has specialized training in orthopedics, whiplash and brain trauma, automobile crash reconstruction, colossus algorithms, MRI interpretation and more. He practices in Orange, CA and his CV can be reviewed here: http://drbarrymarks.com/about/ and he is very active on Google+ https://plus.google.com/+BarryMarksDC/posts.
Dr. Marks is available to discuss problematic cases and review medical records, MRI reports, etc to assist you in the direction of your case. He also offers monthly “in your office” training on medical topics at no cost for Orange County law offices.