If you’re injured due to another person’s negligence you are entitled to file a personal injury suit for medical claims, lost wages, and additional compensation for your pain and suffering. Since determining a dollar amount for your claim can be difficult, it’s best to consult a personal injury lawyer who can help you with the details of your case.
Do You Need Medical Records?
Yes, your medical records are necessary to provide evidence in your case. After a personal injury, medical records from your doctor, physical therapist, hospital, and other specialists you may have seen for treatment will provide proof of your injuries. They will show the type of injuries you suffered, pain inflicted, treatments given, and the overall prognosis that may include future treatments. Many types of injuries, especially when severe, can affect you for years or even for the rest of your life. It’s important to seek medical help immediately after an injury so it can be diagnosed, treated, and recorded in your medical records. If you have suffered previous injuries in the same area from unrelated circumstances, you don’t want that to cause confusion. With accurate medical records, any old injuries recorded will show your physical condition both before and after the personal injury claim.
Who Has Access to Your Records?
Although most medical records are private or sealed, when you file a personal injury claim your medical records must be accessible for review in your case. Your lawyer will need to review them for sufficient evidence to present a strong case, and will also need to provide copies to the defendant’s lawyer. In many personal injury cases, insurance companies routinely ask for an independent medical examination by a doctor they hire to examine you and record your injuries. They may also request lab tests, x-rays and other specialized tests to support the injuries and treatments needed. Remember, doctors hired by the defendant’s side will be looking for information that could damage your case. Although your medical records must be accessible to both parties, your lawyer can ask the court to limit access to certain medical information in your files that does not relate to your case. If you have concerns about any information in your medical records, discuss them with your lawyer.
The Release of Your Medical Records
Federal and state laws require you to sign a medical records release form which allows all of your medical providers to share your records with your lawyer. Never release your medical records without your lawyer’s approval. If you’re asked by anyone other than your lawyer to provide information or records, tell them to talk to your lawyer. Never talk to the defense attorney or insurance adjuster directly. If they call you, tell them to call your lawyer for any questions or information. The defendant’s lawyer and insurance companies want your records to help prove their defense, not to help you.
The laws that regulate claims and the role of medical records in these cases are complicated. Since each case is different and unique, it’s important to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in these types of cases. Find a lawyer that you feel comfortable working with, and someone who will fight for your personal injury rights. You need to build a strong case with sufficient evidence to win in court.