Your Medical Records Can Make – Or Break – Your Case

Under most circumstances, your medical records are considered personal and confidential. Unless you specifically allow another person to look at your medical records, your injuries, diagnoses, prescriptions, and treatment history are not disclosed to strangers. However, this rule does not apply to personal injury claims or lawsuits. As your Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer can explain, in these situations, your medical records are not only critical to your case but also considered discoverable evidence for the at-fault party.

It is critical to your case that you prepare yourself to provide certain access to the at-fault party’s insurance company or attorney and be aware of what you say and do when you seek medical treatment for your injuries.

Ensuring Your Medical Records Will Help Your Case

Your medical records can make or break your personal injury case. Thorough and complete records can be conclusive evidence of the extent of the harm you suffered at the hands of another, while incomplete records can be the reason a judge or jury refuses to award you compensation. These tips will assist you in building a better medical record for your case:

Seek treatment promptly and follow all directions given by your doctor.

Failing to promptly seek medical care after your accident, not following your doctor’s treatment directions, and/or failing to keep follow-up appointments can all suggest that your injuries are not as severe as you may be claiming they are.

Provide a narrative of your injuries when you first sought medical care.

Be specific about how you were injured when asked by your treating doctor. This is an important opportunity to share your version of events that led to your injuries. Failing to do so can lead the other party to cast doubt on the true reason for your visit to the doctor or emergency room on the date of your accident.

Be specific about your aches, pains, and limitations – every time.

You may need to visit a doctor multiple times over the course of your treatment plan. Each time you do, be specific and detailed about what parts of your body hurt and any limitations you are experiencing in movement or activities. This provides powerful proof to judges and juries about any lingering effects that you may have from your injury accident. (Note that you should not exaggerate your symptoms – this can lead your doctor to claim you are not being truthful with your reports, which can severely impact your credibility).

Who Should Give the Other Party Your Medical Records?

One factor that comes into play in accident cases is that the insurance company will insist on seeing the victim’s medical records to verify that there really are injuries. While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable request, the truth is that victims should never turn over their medical history or records to the insurance company. Instead, contact a personal injury attorney to handle all interactions with the insurance company. This could be critical to whether or not you successfully obtain the compensation you deserve.

Your attorney will oversee this process and decide the timing of when the records should be turned over. This is especially crucial if you are still receiving treatment for your injuries or have not fully recovered. If you are still receiving medical treatment, this means there will be more medical bills coming in. If you are still recovering and have not been cleared to return to work, you will have even more lost wages. Giving the insurance company your medical records too soon could mean that any settlement offer would not include these future expenses and losses.

If the insurance company or the at-fault party’s attorney contacts you and wants your medical records, give them your attorney’s contact information and also let your attorney know. If you have not yet retained an attorney, tell the insurance adjuster you are still going through treatment; therefore, turning over your medical records at this time is not appropriate.

Call Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligent or reckless actions, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free case evaluation and learn what legal recourse you may have.

Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our dedicated Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys. You may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, scarring, and disfigurement. Our firm will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve, like the $930,000 insurance settlement our firm obtained for one client who suffered multiple injuries when another driver failed to yield at an intersection and attempted to take a left turn.