Chiropractic Malpractice Cases: Answers to Common Questions 

June 25, 2024

Reading time: 5 minutes

Chiropractic malpractice case, gavel sitting atop a table.

Your job as a chiropractor carries unique risks that can leave you susceptible to malpractice claims. In this article, we’ll answer eight common questions about chiropractic malpractice claims and lawsuits so you can be better prepared.

Key Concepts

  • Common questions about chiropractic malpractice claims
  • Understanding chiropractic malpractice claims and lawsuits
  • Malpractice litigation and claims defense

1. Where do I begin if I’ve been sued by a patient?

The first thing you should always do when notified of a lawsuit is contact your malpractice insurance carrier. They will help you manage claims and defend yourself throughout a lawsuit. Speak with your malpractice carrier before discussing the matter with anyone else. 

2. How can I evaluate my insurance company’s claims expertise?

It is extremely important to select a malpractice insurance company with expertise in malpractice litigation. The company should understand the venue, specific state laws, and clinical practice standards in your state. 

Your chiropractic malpractice insurance carrier should also have a proven track record of successfully defending malpractice claims. Some key statistics to ask for are the company’s trial win rate and number of claims closed without payment. Both numbers should be high. ChiroPreferred’s underwriting carrier, MedPro Group, closes 80% of claims without payment and wins 90% of claims that make it to trial.

3. What tends to be the most surprising/unexpected aspect of the claims process for insureds?

The length of the process is usually the most unexpected part. It can take months or years for a resolution to come after a claim, especially if legal action is taken. Lawsuits prolong the process and typically take at least two years to resolve. Additionally, delays along the way are inevitable and contribute to a prolonged claims process.

4. What is the difference between a claim and a lawsuit?

Both a claim and a lawsuit are legal demands for compensation, but the difference lies in whether the patient has filed a complaint in the court system. 

A malpractice claim is an accusation of negligence that is brought against a chiropractor by a patient or a patient’s attorney. Claims that do not involve a lawsuit can be resolved in a variety of ways including denial, withdrawal, and settlement. Settlement occurs between the two parties through the chiropractor’s malpractice insurance carrier and the patient or their attorney. 

A malpractice lawsuit is a type of claim in which a patient files a legal action in the court system against a chiropractor. In chiropractic malpractice cases, a lawsuit accuses a chiropractor of negligence and alleges that their actions led a patient to suffer harm. Lawsuits can be resolved in a variety of ways including dismissal, withdrawal, settlement through negotiations outside of court, or resolution by trial and jury verdict. The trial will lead to a determination of any damages owed if the chiropractor is found to have been professionally negligent.

5. What is the best way to manage the stress of a claim/potential lawsuit?

Claims and lawsuits can be extremely emotionally draining. The stress of facing a claim can impact your life and your practice. Your claims consultant and defense team can provide you with support for the duration of the claims or litigation process. However, there is never any shame in reaching out to a mental health professional if you feel you need more outside support. 

Keep in mind that it may go against legal advice to discuss the details of your case with others. Confer with your claims consultant/attorney before disclosing any information about your case to anyone.

6. What is the most important thing to avoid doing when sued by a patient?

Never alter any records that pertain to the incident in the lawsuit and the plaintiff in general. Altering records will almost certainly have problematic consequences, which could affect litigation.

7. Who will communicate with me if I face a claim or am sued?

There are a few channels of communication that will need to be active when facing a claim or a lawsuit. First, always report a claim or lawsuit to your malpractice insurance carrier as soon as you receive notice of it. From your malpractice insurance carrier, you will be in contact with a claims consultant who will help manage the claim or suit and advise you.

If you have been sued, you will also be in close contact with your appointed attorney, who will guide you through the litigation process and work on your defense. It is crucial to stay in contact with your malpractice insurance carrier and defense attorney throughout the process. You will be a pivotal member of the defense team. 

8. How can I best prepare for a lawsuit?

The best way to prepare for a lawsuit is to follow the advice of counsel and work with your chiropractic malpractice insurance carrier. Taking matters into your own hands is never a good idea – you can trust that your malpractice insurance carrier has the expertise and experience to help you through a lawsuit.

Facing a chiropractic malpractice claim or lawsuit can be a traumatic experience. By understanding the answers to these common questions, you can be better prepared and practice with greater peace of mind.


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This document should not be construed as legal or medical advice and should not be construed as rules or establishing a standard of care. Because the facts applicable to your situation may vary, or the laws applicable in your jurisdiction may differ, please contact your attorney or other professional advisors if you have any questions related to your legal or medical obligations or rights, state or federal laws, contract interpretation, or other legal questions.

MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. All insurance products are underwritten and administered by these and other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates, including National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and may differ among companies.

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