Why Medical Records Are So Important in Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases usually revolve around your injuries and so the main focus in these cases is usually your medical records. Because you need medical treatment after getting injured, all records of all the treatments you received, as well as their cost, will be required. In addition to your attorney, the other party (defendant) will also ask for the medical records. In this article, we will focus on why these records are so important and how to retrieve them.
Authorization for Release
Because of privacy laws, you need to provide your attorney with the authorization for the release of your medical records. This request will contain your name, social security number, patient account number, address, and other pertinent details.
Once you provide this authorization in writing, your lawyer will begin the process of acquiring these medical records. In some cases, the medical records may not be complete or it might take too long to get the medical records in cases where you were treated on different days by different doctors. In these cases, it would be better to use services like American Retrieval to find medical records in a timely manner and to ensure the completeness of these records.
Do note that the release of your medical records can be denied by the healthcare facility and so a subpoena may be issued.
Medical records are a great tool for determining your compensation. Medical records detail the nature and extent of your injuries, which in turn affects how long you will be out of work, the types of treatments you will need and whether you will be able to go back to work at all. All of these and a host of other factors such as the cost of treatment and lost wages will help determine the compensation you are entitled to.
Determining Pre-existing Injuries
Another reason why medical records are important is because both parties need to have a full account of the claimant’s pre-existing injuries. The claimant might want to prove that they are not suing for injuries that existed before their current injuries. The defendant may want to prove that the injuries they are being sued for already existed. Complete medical records can help set the record straight and show that the new injuries are not related to any past injuries.
Viability of the Case
Your attorney can also use your medical records to determine if you have a viable case. An attorney can tell whether a judge will even allow the case to go forward and whether the jury will see things from the same perspective as you. If your lawyer thinks that you are unlikely to win, they may declare the suit unviable and ask you to instead opt for a settlement out of court.
Personal injury cases hinge on being able to prove that the injuries (damages) you need to be compensated for are a result of someone’s negligence. Medical records can help tell the whole story by explaining the nature and extent of your injuries. They can also be used to determine the settlement’s size.