HOW MEDICAL RECORDS ARE USED IN AN ACCIDENT INJURY CASE
Our personal injury lawyers spend a great deal of time reading through and studying our clients’ medical records. The medical records regarding your injury, and prior health, are very important in proving your accident injury claim. The records show the treatment you received, how it impacted you, your physical restrictions, your prognosis, the cost of your medical treatment, and any pre-existing condition. Medical records are also important because they show the doctors’ opinions about the cause and seriousness of your accident injury, and those opinions can influence other doctors and, later, an insurance company or a jury.
It if for this reason that we always warn clients to be very conscious about what they say to the doctor or the doctor’s staff. Even when you think you are having a casual, friendly, conversation with your doctor or nurse, they are likely going to include parts of the conversation in the chart notes. One obvious thing to avoid in your conversation with the doctor’s office is any discussion about the amount of money you are hoping to get from your case. But there are many, more subtle, things to be aware of as well. For example, it is very important to be completely honest with your doctor and the medical staff at all times. Some people try to help their case by not telling the doctor about a pre existing condition, e.g. prior neck or pack treatment when they have reinjured or worsened their symptoms in a new accident. This is always a bad idea because it may interfere with getting a proper diagnosis and treatment, and the truth is always eventually discovered, and then the doctor thinks the person is not truthful and he or she will not be supportive in the case.
Similarly, many problems can arise in the course of treatment. Two of the worst, and most frequent, problems our accident lawyers see from clients is when the client exaggerates their symptoms and makes excuses for not following through with the recommended treatment, and when the client doesn’t show up for appointments. If the doctor’s office thinks you are exaggerating your symptoms or you are not following through on your treatment the way you should, they will write that in the chart note and it will be bad for your case. (Of course it is just as important not to minimize your symptoms.) Likewise, if you do not show up for an appointment, they will lose the hour they booked for you, they will make less money, other patients are delayed because they could have had your time slot, and the doctor or nurse will be less supportive of your case.
If you have been injured in an accident please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Our personal injury attorneys are very experienced and will help guide you through the legal process and also give you suggestions about how to get the best treatment results with your doctors. Our lawyers do not direct our clients’ medical treatment or recommend specific doctors, but we will guide on questions to ask and things to consider, and we will encourage you to follow through with treatment and be completely honest with your doctors at all time.