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  • Seeing a chiropractor.

    I've recently been having problems with my back (not work related) and was thinking that a little tweek from the chiropractor might help.

    When I first hired on, I had some oldheads tell me not to go to the chiropractor, or if I do to pay with cash. The reason being that if you do suffer a legit on the job back injury that the carrier will check your medical records, see that you've been to the chiropractor, and say that this is a prior injury.

    So I'm just wondering if this is true or just a rumor? Have you heard or know of any cases where this has been brought up? I don't really feel like paying full price for the chiropractor, but then again I don't want to screw myself over if something does happen in the future.
    Last edited by hdfxsts; 05-17-2009, 10:24 PM.

  • #2
    Good question and I am curious to know the answer to this myself. I have struggled with back problems for awhile now, due to childhood illness and military related injuries. BTW Hdfxsts, a good chiropractor is a miracle worker!

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    • #3
      Truth vs. Perjury - Truth is always better!

      Originally posted by hdfxsts View Post
      I've recently been having problems with my back (not work related) and was thinking that a little tweek from the chiropractor might help.

      When I first hired on, I had some oldheads tell me not to go to the chiropractor, or if I do to pay with cash. The reason being that if you do suffer a legit on the job back injury that the carrier will check your medical records, see that you've been to the chiropractor, and say that this is a prior injury.

      So I'm just wondering if this is true or just a rumor? Have you heard or know of any cases where this has been brought up? I don't really feel like paying full price for the chiropractor, but then again I don't want to screw myself over if something does happen in the future.
      Dear HDFXSTS-

      As I understand your question, you have had intermittent back pain off and on through the years and you are worried that if you ever do get an injury that truly injures your back that the prior visits for back pain will diminish you chance of recovery. As a result of this concern, you have been paying "cash" so as, in your opinion, to avoid discovery of this treatment should you make a future claim. I think this is what you said.

      My response is the following:

      (1) when you file a lawsuit for injuries on this futural event, the company is rightfully entitled to know your past "relevant" medical treatment; and
      (2) to not disclose this in sworn answers to the Railroads written interrogatories and/or verbal responses in your depositin would possilbly be perjury and punishable with a possible jail term and I would advise you never to subject yourself to that.

      However, all is not lost!

      First, I am assuming, for purposes of the below, that the injury you might sustain in the future is a one time event as opposed to a repetitive, cumulative and/or occupational trauma claim.

      Second, if you have never had an MRI [Magnetic Resonance Imaging], CT [Computerized Tomography] and/or myelogram of your lower back before the hypothetical future accident, then there is no way to, with any reasonable degree of probabilities, to say that the hypothetical herniation that you might have on MRI taken after the future event pre-existed the future event. Ther are some "dating" factors that doctors can try to utilize, such as dessication [loss of fluid] in the disk which makes the disk a darker color, in the MRI film, but it is clearly left up for opinion. Your doctor will have his/her opinion and you can count on the railroad's doctor taking the position that the disk herniation pre-existed the new injury date. This happens almost in every FELA case and is expected from the company doctor. But the point I am trying to make, perhaps not so eloquently, is that reading MRI films is not an exact science and there is a lot of room for interpretation (assuming the disk is not 'extruded' into the spinal canal and is more of the 'budge' type of herniation).

      Third, so what if they say the herniation pre-existed the future event? As I understand it, you get up, go to work and do your job as scheduled without problem (a little back pain is not such that it causes you to miss work consistently). This is quite common when someone works vocationally in medium to heavy work requirements. The point is, whatever pains you are having, you are functioning! If, on the other hand, you get injured and can no longer deal with the level of pain that you would be having, that is a horse of a different color. Often times people have localized back pain without any radiculopathy [pain radiating down into one or both legs sometimes also associated with numbing and tingling in the legs, toes, etc]. After the futural event, if the nature of the pain changes from localized to radicular, that is some evidence that the injury now has a disk involvement component to it that was not present before the injury.

      So, in summation, if the above assumptions are correct, I would say to you that you should always err on the side of honesty and full disclosure in a lawsuit. Just think how "uncredible" you would be to a jury if the lies came out and a jury heard about them? Even if you were not charged with perjury, do you think jurors would economically reward you for that? I think not.

      I believe that if we get any more specific in your follow-up questions, if any, I would advise you to PM me or call me as I believe I have generally answered your inquiry as 'general' as I can. I hope this answer helped clear up some matters for you.

      Sincerely,

      Steve Gordon
      FELA Claims Attorney | Railroad Worker Injury Lawyer | Rail Worker Litigation
      Steve Gordon
      Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
      FELA Lawyer
      FELA Lawyer Blog
      Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
      Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
      800-773-6770

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