Why Are Medical Records Important to My Case?
Posted on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022
Medical records are one of the last things most people think about when they are injured. Most people want to focus on recovering, and rightfully so. But behind the scenes, doctors, nurses, and other professionals compile a story of that recovery. That story is contained in your medical records.
Medical records can include medical history, emergency room records, diagnoses, treatments, prescriptions, surgical records, clinical and discharge notes from doctors and nurses, x-rays and other diagnostic evaluations, and a doctor’s impression of them. Medical records are critical in any case involving a physical or emotional injury. They are generally accurate and quantifiable. Juries often consider them the best evidence.
Medical records are important in personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases, disability cases (including disability discrimination cases), and any case involving significant emotional pain and suffering. If someone else injured you and you sought medical care, call our experienced St. Louis personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000. Or, you can contact us online. We provide a free initial consultation to evaluate your case, and we can start collecting and reviewing your medical records for you.
Medical Records Can Establish Causation in a Personal Injury Case
In a personal injury case, medical records are the cornerstone of the case. First, medical records can help prove that an accident caused your injuries.
For example, suppose a person sustains neck and back injuries in a car accident. That person’s past medical records will either show that person had no neck or back pain before the accident, they had some neck or back pain and the accident made it worse, or they have long complained about similar neck and back pain. Any of those three situations will drastically affect what compensation a person can recover for the accident.
Take the first example: a person never complained of that particular injury before the accident. In that case, the medical records are excellent evidence that the accident caused the injury, and the at-fault party is responsible for compensating the person. But, if a person’s medical records show that the injuries preexisted before the accident, the at-fault party may not be liable for those injuries.
Medical Records Can Establish Your Losses
Second, medical records help establish what your case is worth. Your attorney can calculate the total cost of hospital stays, surgeries, treatment, physical therapy, and prescriptions from your medical records.
Further, medical records don’t just prove economic losses. They can help prove non-economic losses like pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Your comments to your doctor about your mental state and how your injuries affect your life will likely be noted in medical records and are evidence that your claims are accurate.
Also, in a personal injury case, medical records can provide evidence of what future treatments are necessary for your injuries. A doctor will state in your records what the doctor thinks your prognosis for recovery is, how long recovery will take, and what kind of future care is necessary for healing.
For example, a typical treatment plan may require surgery, physical restrictions, a directive to undergo physical therapy for a certain amount of time, and a prescription plan for pain medications. If you are still recovering during your case and need compensation to continue recovering, these types of medical records can help your attorneys estimate the recovery cost.
Medical Records Can Show You Are Working Toward Recovery
Third, medical records show that you follow your doctor’s advice and treatment plan. Insurance companies often argue that a person made their injuries worse by not attending physical therapy, working outside their physical restrictions, or refusing advice to get surgery. Your medical records can help you prove that you are doing everything you are supposed to do to get better and that you did not worsen your injuries.
Ask for Help Obtaining Your Medical Records
Obtaining medical records, even your own, can be administratively daunting. Our experienced attorneys and staff know how to obtain necessary records most easily. The other side and its insurance company will seek out your medical records in your case. It is essential for your attorney to get them and to know what they say to anticipate the other side’s attacks upon your claims to compensation. The sooner your attorney gets your medical records, the stronger case your attorney can build for your claim.
Put Us to Work for You
Contact OnderLaw, LLC today at (314) 963-9000 and let us help you gather your medical records to build your case. The other side is seeking your medical records. Let us help you protect your rights.