In any injury case, the victim always has the burden of proof to show that they have suffered losses in an accident. If your case goes to court, the judge may examine a wide variety of documents related to your injuries, from the crash report to an expert’s estimation of your economic losses.
However, your medical records are arguably the most important evidence in your claim. The more medical evidence you have to support the extent of your injury, the harder it will be for an insurance company to deny your claim.
How a Detailed Medical History Benefits Your Injury Case
Medical records play several important roles in an injury case. They provide a timeline of your injury, a running total of your medical bills, and notes from physicians outlining the effects your accident has had on your life. A detailed medical history can prove many things about your injury, such as:
- Existence. The first thing your record should show is that you actually sustained the injury you claim to have suffered. While x-rays can be used as evidence of some injuries (including broken bones), some conditions may need a greater degree of diagnostic testing. For example, back injuries can be extremely painful even if nothing out of the ordinary appears on a scan. You may have to visit a specialist to evaluate your condition and provide a medical opinion on your injury.
- Cause. The dates and times on your medical records will be carefully scrutinized by insurers, just in case any of your injuries could be related to pre-existing conditions. This is why getting treatment promptly after the accident is so important. Even if you had a medical condition prior to the accident, you can still get payment for your crash-related injuries. A physician’s expert testimony may be needed to explain how your pre-existing condition relates to your new injuries.
- Type. Insurance companies often try to downplay certain injuries as “minor.” As experienced personal injury attorneys, we know that no two injuries are alike—and “minor” injuries can cause considerable suffering for a victim. Medical records can provide specific details establishing the full effect the injury has had on your life, including why the recovery has been significantly more difficult for you. This includes tracking the financial costs of your treatment, including hospital visits, surgeries, ambulatory care, prescriptions, physical therapy, and long-term rehabilitation.
- Progress. Your records don’t just provide information about your physical condition; they also reveal who you are as a patient. Every doctor’s visit between your first report of your injuries to the date of your last appointment reinforces your credibility, so always attend your follow-up appointments during recovery.
- Limitations. The future prognosis from your doctors and specialists can have a huge bearing on your ability to live your life. If your injury has caused permanent physical restrictions (such as an inability to bend over or lift heavy weights), you may have to look for another job. If your treatment requires certain prescription medications, you may not be able to operate a vehicle. It’s vital that your doctor records any limitations that could impact your ability to earn a living.
- Severity. If you have suffered a catastrophic injury, your medical records provide a picture of the type and extent of treatment you will need for the rest of your life. The total of your past medical bills may be used to help calculate economic damages, while a doctor’s notes on your future quality of life can be used to negotiate an appropriate settlement for pain and suffering.
With so much at stake, it’s important that you make the most of every visit related to your accident. Provide your treating physicians with a full medical history and make sure all of your symptoms are recorded in your notes. Any discrepancies over the wording or accuracy of the information contained in your medical chart could be used to undervalue your claim.
Our car accident attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations to help crash victims across Tennessee get the answers they need after an accident. To learn more about getting compensation after a car wreck, simply fill out our quick contact form or read through our Free Guide To Getting Your Doctor Bills Paid After a Car Crash.