Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chiropractors Calling After An Auto Accident--Avoid The Machine

Machines can be dangerous. If you've been in an auto accident, you'll soon be introduced to a machine of sorts.

Within a day or two of a crash, the phone rings. It's usually from some innocently sounding "help center" or "injury hot line." They get your name from accident reports, which are public records. Many times these calls are from out of state phone numbers. Why, you ask? Because many states prohibit chiropractors (and attorneys) from calling car crash victims directly (hence the out of state "wellness center" to get around this "technicality").

The "pitch" takes various forms:

"The insurance company wanted me to check and see if you were hurt."

"I'm calling to check on your injuries" without identifying who they are. If pressed, they identify some "help" or "wellness" center.

If you deny being hurt in the collision, a standard scripted response might be "we need to have that medically documented and we can refer you to a provider in your area for a free exam."

This happened to a client recently. He responded to such a call and took his son in with him (both were involved in the accident). First initial visit: over $500 for each of them due to countless x-rays and other "modalities." Suspicious, he left that office, called me, and eventually went to his family doctor and got hooked up with a reputable chiropractor of his choosing (there are many out there, by the way).

But before he abandonned the previous chiropractor's office, he signed a paper agreeing that any settlement money is now the chiropractor's property to the extent of the outstanding bill.

And, the fired chiropractor is now refusing to turn over all the x-ray reports to the new chiropractor.

Look, insurance companies know all about these business practices and scrutinize the hell out of them and the attorneys who routinely "pop up" time and time again with the same chiropractic office on countless auto accident claims.

In this maze of confusion, here's a big clue as to what to do after an accident. If they're coming after you within just a few days after an accident, as opposed to you doing your own homework, it's a huge red flag. Avoid the callers from help centers and the fancy DVD's and slick mail brochures that practically tilt your mailbox. Otherwise, you're about to step into a well orchestrated, sophisticated machine that I referred to above. In my opinion, it's a machine that was not designed and speced on what's in your best interests.

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