After nearly 15 years practicing as a chiropractor, I decided to venture into a law practice. As a chiropractor, I treated patients injured as a result of accidents.
This experience has enabled me, as an attorney, to have a unique perspective and understanding of what my clients go through following an accident or injury.
A Unique Perspective
I understand their mechanism of injury, treatment protocols, and future prognosis. As you may know, insurance adjusters typically don’t have a medical background, yet are given authority to deny treatment, diminish treatment, and outright claim that there’s no causation to the client’s injuries.
From a business standpoint, I understand that insurance companies are in business to make money, and that’s the main reason for the adjusters to not act in good faith in disputing medical treatment.
After a denial or acceptance of medical treatment for our clients, I often speak with the adjusters to see if they really understand what they are denying. Sometimes after speaking with them, they understand that I know from a medical perspective what and why we are making the claim for our clients and end up giving in to our demands.
The Edge in Court
In regards to a jury trial, many jurors do not have a medical background and it’s difficult for them to understand the mechanism of injury as well as why treatment is done for that injury. I’m able to spoon-feed them through various methods, such as visual aids, (like models of various parts of the human body), charts, graphs, and videos of treatment — just as is done in public school, when a teacher teaches their student.
For example, in a trial I don’t just tell the jury, “My client has a C4/C5 subligamentous disc herniation.” I actually bring in a model and have a medical expert explain what that means and how it can affect my client’s activities in daily living.
Also, many times in trial, the defense will hire an “expert” for medical treatment of our clients. I enjoy cross-examining these so-called “experts” and tripping them up on their medical opinions.
Practicing as a chiropractor and working with the referring attorney, I have learned over the years how attorneys “make money” for their patients and how much their cases average on settlement. This is very important because it streamlines the negotiation process.
Many times attorneys find it difficult to communicate to their client the amount of money damages the attorney is seeking for their case — perhaps, traditionally, this was a “taboo” subject because, as attorneys, we’re supposed to be seeking “justice” for our clients.
I’m not delusional to think that my clients are seeking me out, as a top rated personal injury lawyer, so that I can get them justice in the sense of satisfaction that they were in the right and the other person was in the wrong. In most situations, our legal system does not punish a negligent person with jail time.
In my personal injury practice, justice or punishment is found in monetary damages that forces the wrongdoer to pay up for their negligence. Because of this, I have no problem in educating my clients on the amount of money I will be seeking to give them the justice they are entitled to.
Invaluable Medical Experience
My background in treating and caring for injured patients as a physician allows me to assess and identify the various injuries my client sustained so that I will know what type of treatment the client will have to undergo and the prognosis for a medical recovery.
This, in turn, allows me to formulate a reasonable estimation of the amount of money it will take to care for my client. Then, when I put on my attorney hat, I can incorporate these medical damages into my experiences as both a physician and attorney, when demanding a certain amount of money to settle the claim.
My clients may not understand the significance of my background and experience when they initially seek my help, but ultimately they come to realize that they’re in good hands.
Dr. Louis Patino is principal attorney at Patino Law Firm, which has offices in McAllen and San Antonio and handles personal injury cases.
This article is a sponsored collaboration with Patino Law Firm