If you are injured, you will, of course, need to seek medical attention. Whether this is on an emergency basis, or stretches out for years of surgeries and therapy, medical records are the cornerstone of a personal injury case.
Why are medical records so important?
If you have been injured because of the negligence of another and need to bring a claim or lawsuit to recover for your losses (i.e., you are a personal injury plaintiff), the first thing to understand is the role your medical records play in your case.
In law, you need to prove both the facts of your case (i.e., what happened) as well as what your damages are. In other words, what you have suffered and how much it has cost you—both physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.
In brief, to prove your case in a personal injury action, you must submit evidence of the facts and your damages. With regard to your physical, mental, and emotional damages, your medical records supply that proof.
How medical records help your case
Medical records show not only what your injuries were, but the extent to which they may have impacted your life and may continue to impact your life. So, for example, the medical records of a person involved in a severe car crash might show that both of the plaintiff’s legs were broken. They will also show how severe the breaks were, what surgeries, therapies, or other treatments he has undergone, and whether he will ever be able to walk, run, or stand for long periods of time again.
They will also show whether the injured person had any prior injuries.
So, using our example, the medical records will show if the plaintiff had ever previously broken one or both of his legs.
Medical records, (which include emergency room records, therapist records, and doctor’s treatment notes, among other types of records), will also show whether you followed the doctor’s orders.
All of this goes to prove the validity of your claims of injury as well as your claims of how severely you were injured.
Which is why, in a personal injury case, medical records can make or break your case. They are central in determining how much compensation you may get. A complete lack of medical records, or medical records that show you did not follow doctor’s orders or did not keep appointments, allow the insurance company to argue that you really weren’t that seriously injured (otherwise you would have sought medical care and would have kept your appointments) or that you are fully recovered, so you shouldn’t get any money at all.
Once you understand how important your medical records are, you can see why one of the first steps in any personal injury action is to get the medical records.
What you should do with your medical records.
If you are involved in any kind of accident, you should get your medical records from all treating physicians as soon as possible.
Once you have your medical records, carefully look them over. Make sure that they are complete and accurate.
Review your records to ensure that:
- All of your symptoms are noted
- All treatments are noted
- Any pre-existing conditions you may have had are noted
- Your medical history is correct
It is important that your records are accurate and complete because your medical records are the documentary evidence your attorney will enter into evidence in court or will use to negotiate your claim with the insurance company.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in several counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.