If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have the right to make them legally liable for their fault. However, establishing fault in a personal injury claim can be quite challenging to prove. This is why hiring a Los Angeles personal injury attorney is the best option for you.
There are multiple steps you need to take when pursuing a personal injury claim. Perhaps this most important step of them all is securing your medical records.
After being involved in an accident that resulted in serious injury, it’s important that you immediately seek medical attention. Talks with your physician, follow all of your doctor’s instructions, and attend follow-up visits to your doctor for extended treatment. By doing this, this won’t just save you from your symptoms getting worse, but you will also have definitive medical proof that you sustained those injuries after the accident.
If you wait any longer, the court or the other party might attempt to dispute your claim by asking why you didn’t go to the doctor immediately. They might also claim that your injuries may have been caused by something else, not just by accident, if you don’t get it treated right away. You have to remember, medical records are difficult to tamper with, which is why it’s considered one of the strongest pieces of evidence in a personal injury claim.
But what are medical records?
Medical records can be used as direct evidence for your injuries. It can be emergency room records, doctor’s notes, diagnosis, recommended treatment, and other medical-related documents related to your injuries.
These records can be any of the following:
- Ambulance/paramedic records
- Emergency records
- Hospital records
- Physical records
- Records from follow-up appointments
- MRIs, CT scans, X-Rays, and testing records
These medical records will also indicate how much your injury case is worth. Whatever you do, do not throw away or lose any of your medical records related to your injury. Your medical records contain the exact price of your hospital stays, surgeries, prescriptions, and other medical bills you’ve collected from your injury. Your Los Angeles personal injury attorney can also quantify the financial impact of your injuries.
However, each state may have different privacy concerns regarding medical records. Before getting deep into your personal injury claim, don’t forget to familiarize yourself first with the state and federal rules regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
For example, the HIPAA Privacy Rule and state guidelines give you the full right to access medical records in California. The HIPAA Privacy Rule sets this legal precedent for medical records across the country.
There are several advantages to releasing your medical records in support of your personal injury claim.
- It allows both you and the defendant to determine the physical injuries and feasibility of a specific case.
- It provides details of the extent and nature of the claimant’s current injuries.
- It helps to calculate the damages the injured party sustained.
- It allows a medical expert to determine the true cause of the claimant’s injuries and assess whether doctors practiced the right care.
What is Maximum Medical Improvement? (MMI)
MMI is the point at which your doctor asserts that your condition has been stabilized. This means that your condition is not expected to worsen and is also not expected to get much better. It may be ideal for you to reach MMI before resolving your claim. If you are lucky, reaching MMI means that you have made a full recovery. You should still be compensated for all of the pain and suffering you’ve endured. Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t always happen.
Medical records can’t lie.
Medical records are one of the strongest pieces of legal evidence you can provide in court. It’s because they are both accurate and quantifiable. The more detailed it is, the better.
Your medical records can also be used to:
- Determine the extent of your injuries and the merit of your claim.
- Prove the legitimacy of your injuries, either in settlement negotiations or in court.
- Calculate damages associated with your injuries, which also include intangible damages such as pain and suffering.
- Calculate future damages, such as rehabilitation sessions and/or therapy.
- Determine the cause of your injuries and whether your doctor practiced reasonable care.
Your medical records can serve as your lifeline for your case. They can provide definitive proof for both economic and non-economic damages. These records are hard to fake, and it is also illegal to do so.
You can use your medical records as leverage against either the other party or the insurance company you are negotiating with. The more comprehensive and thorough your medical records are, the better. This means that you have stronger evidence of how much your claim is worth and will give you higher chances of winning your case.