Can You Sue a Chiropractor for Medical Malpractice?

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Have you, your friend, or your loved one been severely impacted due to chiropractor malpractice or negligence? If so, you’re probably wondering whether you can sue your chiropractor to recover compensation for your injuries, right? The short answer is YES! 

Like any other medical professional, a chiropractor makes inattentive mistakes, causing the patient to receive injuries. In that case, competent chiropractor malpractice and personal injury attorney can help the patient pursue compensation for the damages caused through a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

So we prepared this insightful guide to discuss:

  • Different chiropractic malpractice claims available
  • Types of medical professionals to sue for malpractice or negligence
  • Should you sue the entire medical institution?

Different Chiropractor Malpractice Claims Available

Chiropractic malpractice occurs when the chiropractor did not provide an acceptable standard of care within the profession. The section below discusses a few examples of instances in which an injured patient may file a malpractice lawsuit against their chiropractor. 

Failure to Diagnose a Medical Condition that Requires Immediate Care

Chiropractors must diagnose medical conditions that require prompt attention. And falling to do so or diagnosing a patient improperly, leading to an injury, may be enough reason to seek compensation through a lawsuit. 

If a chiropractor fails to diagnose or improperly diagnoses a medical condition, yet a more reasonable physician would have done so, the chiropractor may be liable for the damages caused. Here’s a hypothetical scenario; Mrs. June seeks chiropractic treatment for lower back pain. The chiropractor determines a facet joint dysfunction caused the symptoms and recommends 15 treatment sessions. 

During the treatment, Mrs. June suffers a fatal Stroke. And the doctors at the hospital determine that the stroke resulted from stage 4 Arthritis, a condition that causes severe lower back pain. In that case, Mrs. June can sue her chiropractor for medical malpractice because they had a responsibility to diagnose the underlying conditions causing the lower back pain or refer Mrs. June for advanced medical care if need be. 

A Chiropractor Performing Negligent Manipulation of the Body

Sometimes the chiropractor may adjust the patient’s body in a way that creates new injuries or worsen existing ones. This qualifies as negligent manipulation of the body. Thus, it may be enough reason to see compensation for the damages caused through a malpractice lawsuit. Some injuries resulting from inattentive chiropractic adjustments include herniated disks, broken ribs, nerve damage, fractured vertebrae, pinched nerves, neck pain, lower back pain, and more. 

Even worse, a chiropractor’s negligent treatment of a patient may cause a stroke. This happens when a chiropractor’s manipulation of the body causes brain-bound arteries to rupture or block during the neck adjustment, causing a blood clot, cutting oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Pregnant patients may also go into early labor as a result of negligent manipulation of the body. 

A Chiropractor Treating a Patient Without Consent

If a chiropractor treats a patient without their consent and an injury occurs, that may qualify as medical malpractice or negligence. Then, the patient may file a lawsuit to seek compensation. Therefore, before offering any chiropractic care or adjustments, the chiropractor is required to seek the patient’s informed consent. 

But wait, that’s not all; the chiropractor also needs to lay all the risks and benefits of particular chiropractic treatment in black and white. This gives the patient the chance to admit or decline the treatment upon getting the idea of what to expect. And denying a patient that privilege may result in a malpractice lawsuit if damage occurs. 

Types of Medical Professionals That One Can or Cannot Sue for Malpractice or Negligence

As we stated earlier, any medical professional may cause their patient to sustain injuries, or worse, pass away due to their negligence or malpractice. But here’s the catch; there are specific scenarios where you can or cannot sue a physician for malpractice or negligence. 

Instances When You Cannot Sue a Medical Professional for Malpractice or Negligence

Below are the top five reasons your medical malpractice claim may lack merit:

  • Standard of care. Legally, physicians provide a very baseline standard of care. Hence, you cannot sue them for failing to provide A+ care or doing “everything they can” to help you or your loved one recover. 
  • Speculative damages. If your physician was vividly negligent, but you acted proactively to seek corrective treatment and suffered no harm, you cannot seek compensation. In other words, if something terrible could have happened had you not acted fast to seek advanced care, the law prohibits you from recovering compensation for the damages that didn’t occur. 
  • Privacy. You cannot sue a physician for violating your privacy in the course of your treatment. Instead, the doctor can only get disciplined or subjected to further training if your case is valid, but no compensation can be awarded to the patient. 
  • Miscarriage. There’s no denying it; miscarriage is one of the most devastating experiences a woman can endure. But several reasons can lead to it. Thus, it’s incredibly challenging to prove that a miscarriage resulted from medical malpractice, more so in the early pregnancy stages where no autopsy had been done. 
  • Rude/Unprofessional. You cannot sue a doctor for being rude to you, embarrassing you, or treating you unethically. In such instances, your best bet is seeking healthcare elsewhere or filing a defamation suit. 

Sue a Chiropractor for Medical Malpractice or Negligence

Any medical professional can get sued if a patient suffers an injury due to errors or malpractice. In essence, a physician may be held liable legally if they:

  • Misdiagnose or fail to diagnose a patient that needs immediate attention
  • Perform an incorrect or unnecessary surgery
  • Discharge the patient prematurely
  • Fail to transfer or refer the patient to an advanced facility for more specialized care
  • Fail to order appropriate tests or act on the results
  • Operate the wrong part of the body
  • Fail to follow up on the patient
  • The patient acquires potential fatal infections in the hospital
  • Prescribe the wrong medication
  • Leave things inside the patient’s body after completing a surgery

Should You Sue the Entire Medical Institution for Malpractice or Negligence?

listening to a chiropractor
A senior patient listens as a female doctor shows him something on a digital tablet.

In certain instances, sue the entire hospital on the grounds of negligence or vicarious liability. 

Hospital Negligence

  • When hiring medical staff, a hospital must confirm that the applicant has the required education, training, and licensing. If the hospital fails to do so and the medic injures a patient due to inattentive medical care, it may get sued on negligent supervision and retention. 
  • A hospital may also be responsible for its negligence if it fails to look into a physician’s credentials before granting them permission to treat patients, hence causing injuries.
  • If a hospital has a registered nurses shortage, resulting in injuries or lack of care to patients, it may get sued for lacking a sufficient number of caregivers on duty at all times. 

Vicarious Liability

Here, a hospital may be liable for the negligent actions of its employee if they were acting within the scope of their employment when the damage occurred. This is well-articulated under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.”

A hospital may also retain a contractor to operate its ERs or outpatient facilities. In that case, the hospital may be held vicariously liable if the contractor acts negligently, resulting in injuries to the patient. Some hospitals also have medical staff who are independent contractors and not official facility employees. In that case, if an independent contractor commits medical malpractice while treating a patient in the hospital, they’ll carry their cross, i.e., the hospital won’t bear the responsibility. 

Hire a Competent Chiropractor Malpractice or Negligence Attorney for Your Case!

Looking for experienced and competent chiropractic malpractice or negligence lawyer to help you seek justice for you or your loved ones’ injuries? We can help! Weltchek, Mallahan & Weltchek, WMW is a team of award-winning trial attorneys with overflowing experience battling chiropractic malpractice cases. We have successfully recovered over $600 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients, and we can’t wait to help you seek maximal compensation for your medical malpractice injuries. 

So contact us today to schedule a FREE medical malpractice consultation!

Who Can You Trust with Your Case?

Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.


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