Can You Sue a Chiropractor in Chicago?

If you or a loved one has been injured because of chiropractic care in Chicago, you may wonder, “Can you sue a chiropractor?” Illinois law allows you to file a malpractice lawsuit against a chiropractor who causes injury due to carelessness or negligence. Although chiropractors don’t practice medicine like traditional medical doctors, they still have to uphold professional standards and provide safe and competent treatment. They can be held accountable if they fail to do so and harm patients.

Physical therapists press to the patient shoulder check for pain. Can You Sue a Chiropractor

If you or a family member were injured by a chiropractor in Chicago, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Ankin Law at 312-600-0000 to learn your legal options.

Is There a Legal Basis for Suing a Chiropractor in Illinois?

Chiropractic treatment involves chiropractors using their hands or instruments to apply controlled force to muscle tissue or joints to help treat musculoskeletal problems. In Illinois, chiropractors are regulated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

While patients have found relief from chiropractic treatment, some have developed new health problems or worsened existing conditions because of the treatment. According to one study, 30-61% of chiropractic patients experience adverse effects after chiropractic spinal manipulations. There have been cases of chiropractic treatments causing serious injuries and even death.

Chiropractors undergo training and testing before receiving a license and are required to exercise a reasonable degree of care during treatment, just like other healthcare professionals. When a chiropractor’s treatment causes injury, the chiropractor can be held liable for medical malpractice.

Legal Requirements for Proving Malpractice

A bad outcome from chiropractic treatment or simply knowing a chiropractor made an error doesn’t guarantee a successful malpractice case. To be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a chiropractor in Illinois, you and your legal team will have to prove the following legal components:

Duty of Care

A chiropractor malpractice victim must show that the chiropractor owed him or her a duty of care. You can establish this by showing a provider-patient relationship existed. This relationship is established whenever a patient is under a chiropractor’s care. A chiropractor owes you a reasonable duty of care when he or she accepts you as a patient.

Breach of Duty

You’ll need to show that the chiropractor breached the duty of care. This involves demonstrating the chiropractor’s treatment fell below the acceptable standards of care. That can be done by comparing a chiropractor’s actions to what another chiropractor would’ve done in similar circumstances.

You can hold the chiropractor liable for damages if he or she did something that another reasonably competent chiropractor wouldn’t have done in the same situation. You’ll likely not have a case if the chiropractor acted in a way that any other chiropractor would’ve acted under similar circumstances.

For example, chiropractors use diagnostic techniques like X-rays to better diagnose and treat health issues. If your chiropractor fails to use the diagnostic technique before performing an adjustment, the chiropractor could be considered to have failed to adhere to the normal standard of care used by other chiropractors.


You must prove a direct link between the chiropractor’s breach of duty and the harm suffered. You’re unlikely to successfully sue a chiropractor if the chiropractor’s actions weren’t the direct cause of your injury or condition.


You must also show that you suffered damages due to the injury. Examples of damages include medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. These can be established through medical bills, diagnostic tests, medical records, personal journals, evidence of work restrictions and missed work, and any other losses you incurred due to your injury.

Common Reasons for Suing a Chiropractor in Illinois

Common examples of medical malpractice cases involving chiropractors include the following.

Negligent Manipulation

Negligent manipulation is the basis of most malpractice cases against chiropractors. Overly aggressive or inappropriate manipulation of the body can cause severe injuries. A patient can suffer a stroke when the chiropractor manipulates the neck in such a manner that an artery in the brain ruptures. Strokes may occur several weeks after a chiropractic visit. Other issues that can occur due to negligent manipulation include:

  • Localized pain
  • Broken bones
  • Herniated discs
  • Nerve damage
  • Premature labor in pregnant women

Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose

Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are common medical malpractice claims made against chiropractors. Chiropractors have a duty to identify a patient’s troublesome symptoms or condition and send the patient to a medical doctor or specialist when necessary. If a chiropractor fails to do so or gives an incorrect diagnosis and a patient’s condition worsens, the chiropractor can be held liable for injuries.

Lack of Informed Consent

Chiropractors should obtain informed consent before providing services. Patients can’t give informed consent if they’re unaware of all the risks associated with a procedure. A chiropractor can be held liable if he or she doesn’t accurately inform a patient of the risks involved and an injury occurs.

How to Determine If You Have a Case Against a Chiropractor in Chicago

Medical malpractice cases can be complex, lengthy, and expensive. You should establish whether you have a valid legal chiropractic malpractice claim before filing a lawsuit.

Ensure you’re still within the Illinois statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice cases. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in Illinois is generally two years from the date the incident that caused your injury occurred or the date you became aware or reasonably should’ve become aware of the injury caused by the chiropractor. Your lawsuit against a chiropractor won’t be valid if you file it after the statute of limitations has run out.

The question “How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case against a chiropractor?” is best answered by a lawyer. When you consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer before filing a lawsuit, the lawyer will help you evaluate your case to determine if it’s in your best interest to sue a chiropractor for malpractice. He or she will review the facts of your case and assess its strengths. A lawyer will help determine whether you still have time to file a lawsuit. Medical malpractice lawyers usually have access to medical experts who can review your records to establish whether the chiropractor’s actions fell below the typical standard.

How to File a Lawsuit Against a Chiropractor in Illinois

When you decide to file a lawsuit against a chiropractor in Illinois, knowing the right steps to take is essential to maximize your chances of success. As complicated as they may be, you’ll need to follow the Illinois medical malpractice rules to avoid having your case dismissed. As a result, it’s recommended that you start by contacting a qualified lawyer who regularly handles medical malpractice claims in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

After reviewing your case and determining you have a strong legal claim, your attorney will guide you through the following steps to ensure you follow the appropriate filing process.

Gather the Relevant Documentation and Evidence

You’ll need to gather enough documents and other pieces of evidence to build a strong case against the chiropractor. These include:

  • Medical records
  • Photos or videos of your injuries after chiropractic treatment
  • Communication with the chiropractor
  • Receipts for treatments and medications
  • Witness statements
  • Written medical expert opinion

Identify Defendants

You’ll need to know the right party or parties to sue before filing a lawsuit. Chiropractors are typically the defendants in lawsuits involving chiropractic malpractice. Defendants can also be any other parties that contributed to your injuries, including other doctors, nurses, and the chiropractic or healthcare facility where treatment took place.

Value Your Case

Your medical malpractice attorney will identify all the damages you’re entitled to, including the lifetime costs resulting from your injury, quantify them, and determine the full value of your case.

File a Complaint

Filing a complaint with the court starts the lawsuit. The complaint should include details like who you’re suing, why you’re suing them, and the compensation you’re seeking.

Start the Discovery Phase

The sides involved exchange information about the case, such as medical records and expert witness reports, during this phase.

Settle Out of Court or Take the Case to Trial

Settlement negotiations can take place at any point throughout your case. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will utilize his or her negotiation skills to fight for your rights and get you a just settlement amount. The lawyer will take the case to trial if the defendant or insurer fails to offer a fair settlement. Most medical malpractice cases end in out-of-court settlements before going to trial.

At Ankin Law, we have a wide network of healthcare professionals who help uncover medical malpractice and provide expert testimony to support the claims of victims. We have the experience and resources to build a compelling case and recover full compensation for the harm caused by a chiropractor while meeting all the critical deadlines. Contact us to schedule a free consultation in Chicago.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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