Jury Awards $6.2 Million Against Chiropractors for Failure to Refer TBI Patient to MD

Seattle, WA

A King County jury awarded $6,291,379 to Friedman | Rubin’s client in a unique case involving the duty of chiropractors to refer patients who need medical treatment. The case was brought on behalf of Robert Harmon, who fell at work in January of 2012 and sought treatment at the Meridian Valley Chiropractic Clinic, owned by Dr. Michael Hughes and Dr. Rita Hughes. Despite telling the chiropractors that he hit his head when he fell and was knocked unconscious, the doctors never referred Mr. Harmon to a medical doctor for evaluation of his head injury or ordered an MRI or CT scan of his head. Over the next six months of chiropractic treatment, Mr. Harmon complained of progressing symptoms of a brain injury, such as dizziness, headaches, balance problems, and visual disturbances. The chiropractors continued to treat Mr. Harmon, primarily with a technique known as sacro-occipital technique (SOT), but did not inform Mr. Harmon that he should be evaluated by a medical doctor. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries eventually ordered an independent medical examination for Mr. Harmon, which revealed the existence of a large subdural hematoma that required two brain surgeries to remove. Mr. Harmon’s experts testified that the delay in diagnosis and treatment of the hematoma caused permanent brain damage that could have been avoided with prompt treatment after the fall. The jury awarded economic damages of $585,379, past non-economic damages of $1,000,000 and future non-economic damages of $4,706,363. FR’s trial team included Ken Friedman and Sean Gamble, supported by co-counsel Elizabeth Quick and Matt Quick of the Quick Law Firm.