When Can I Sue a Chiropractor for Malpractice in Colorado?
Chiropractors use physical manipulation and adjustment of the spine to relieve pain and enhance the patient’s mobility. Chiropractic care is based on the belief that nerve pressure and misalignment cause certain conditions and diseases.
Many chiropractors adhere to a controversial theory that a partial dislocation of the spine referred to as a “subluxation” may cause medical issues by shutting down the flow of nerve energy. Subluxations are generally asymptomatic and they are often impossible to detect on an x-ray. There is no valid scientific reason to believe that subluxations are a viable medical concern.
Although chiropractors are not medical doctors, they can be sued for medical malpractice if they cause injury to a patient. Malpractice may occur when a chiropractor fails to diagnose a harmful condition or when a chiropractor damages the patient instead of healing them while performing a chiropractic manipulation.
What Is Chiropractic Malpractice?
Chiropractic medicine is a form of alternative care that treats ailments of the spine and musculoskeletal system through physical manipulation. But chiropractors often claim to be able to treat a variety of illnesses that fall outside their area of expertise, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, and immune system disorders.
Malpractice refers to improper, illegal, or negligent treatment that harms or injures a patient.
Chiropractors may be held liable for negligence when they do the following:
- Provide treatment that physically harms a patient
- Fail to order the required diagnostic imaging
- Fail to review the patient’s medical history and provide a full examination
- Fail to inform a patient about the risks associated with chiropractic treatment
- Fail to inform a patient about treatment alternatives that include other types of healthcare providers
Common Types of Chiropractic Malpractice
One of the most common types of malpractice suits filed against chiropractors occurs when chiropractors use a form of therapy called cervical manipulative therapy (CMT), which involves forcefully rotating the neck.
CMT may trigger a vertebral artery dissection (VAD), which causes blood clots and may potentially lead to strokes. A study conducted by neurologists at two major academic medical centers “indicates that chiropractic manipulation of the neck can cause vertebral artery dissection.”
In addition to strokes, other medical complications associated with chiropractic treatment include:
- Broken ribs
- Birth injuries
- Nerve damage
- Torn ligaments
- Facial paralysis
- Muscle damage
- Loss of mobility
- Cracked vertebrae
- Sciatic nerve pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- Herniated or ruptured disks
- Loss of dexterity or mobility
- Infections resulting from injections
- Compression of nerves in the spinal column (cauda equine syndrome)
- Infection following an injection
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Chiropractic Malpractice Suit?
In Colorado, you are required to file a malpractice suit within two years of the chiropractor’s actions that caused your injury. But the discovery rule may extend the initial date to when you first discovered or should have discovered your injury through reasonable diligence. The discovery period is capped at three years after the incident unless the malpractice was knowingly concealed by the defendant.
We’re On Your Side
Doctors and other medical professionals must be held accountable when they hurt people. You should never have to pay for negligence that wasn’t your fault.
At Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., we have successfully handled cases for patients who were harmed by chiropractic negligence, resulting in cash settlements for our clients. When you work with our chiropractic malpractice attorneys, you will receive the highest level of legal assistance. Call (303) 759-9945 to learn more.