I recently called a chiropractor that my client had chosen for her treatment after a personal injury case. I had called to get an update on my client’s care and while giving me an update on the bills, Mr. Chiropractor immediately volunteered the total (which was very reasonable by the way) … along with adding “but I can cut that by 20%”. I asked him if he had intentionally over billed his patient by 20%, to which he replied a very offended sounding “No!”. I apologized for my question, but told him that he is entitled to every penny of his reasonable charges. He told me that every attorney he has ever dealt with has requested at least that much of a cut in chiropractic fees. I believe that is insulting and absurd for chiropractors to have to do that on a regular basis.
The only reason that you are considering reducing your charges is because the insurance companies are selling you a lie which you are subconsciously acquiescing by agreeing to lower your charges. And what is that lie? The lie is that your services don’t matter. Your services are not necessary. Quit accepting that concept as truthful. If an attorney calls you and wants you to reduce your bills, ask them if they are reducing their fee in like kind.
Sometimes, reducing fees and expenses is necessary. But in the normal course of business, you should not cut your bill.
If an attorney who represents your patient asks you to reduce your bills, how should you handle it?
1. Ask the attorney why you should cut your bill? There may be a bona fide reason. After all, if you are treating on a lien and there is no med pay coverage, you might be left out in the cold if there is a reason your patient might lose their case. But be wary. Do not accept the following reasons from the plaintiff’s lawyer as to why you should cut your fee:
- “Her treatment is all chiropractic.”
- “Insurance companies don’t give a lot of money for chiropractic care only type of cases.”
- “Every chiropractor reduces their bills.” (LIE!) That may be true for that attorney, but perhaps he needs to give you a better reason, or try the case.
2. If there is a valid reason, then consider it. Valid reasons include:
- Your patient is a whiner and a malingerer;
- Your patient has had a prior wreck that she did not tell you about that is relevant to the injuries at hand;
- Your patient has been involved in a subsequent wreck with the same or similar injuries claimed in the initial wreck;
- Your patient has abused narcotics recently since the wreck; or
- Your patient has been arrested since the wreck at issue;
3. Ask the attorney if he has ever tried a jury trial similar to the case of your patient. It may be that he or she is simply scared, and wants to take the last lowball offer just because he/she doesn’t know what to do to move the case forward. If the attorney is a divorce/criminal law attorney, this is probably the case. Attorneys that do not specialize in personal injury cases sometimes act like they know all about how your client’s case will turn out. It may be time for your patient to consider getting a new attorney.
At GriffithLaw, we never ask any doctors to cut their bills unless there are extremely valid reasons for doing so. As a matter of course, we pay chiropractors 100%. We are all at work, away from our families, to earn a living. I don’t want to have to cut my fees for anyone, and I don’t expect you to unless circumstances are clearly extenuating and I have already cut first. As a matter of course, I pay 100% without any reductions. You should expect 100% payment in full as well.